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What is the Chair Scoot Exercise?

The chair scoot exercise is a great exercise for anyone who has had arthroscopic knee surgery or a total knee replacement. It is a great option for people who have had a partial knee replacement as well.

It is a simple exercise to perform. The exerciser would sit in a chair with wheels and using your feet on the ground you would roll the chair forward or backward along a hallway to next to your desk.

To see how this exercise is performed I recorded the following video at my physical therapy clinic.

Stool Scoots Exercise

Chair scoot is the same as the stool scoots exercise except that a stool scoot exercise is performed on a stool. Physical therapy clinics are notorious for having stools with wheels so patients will sit on the stool and scoot themselves across the floor.

Occasionally therapists and patients will have stool scoots exercise drag races across the clinic.

Knee Replacement Chair Scoot Exerci...

When Should the Chair Scoot Exercise be Performed?

The chair scoot exercise may be used at any time during the rehabilitation process. What is so great about this exercise is the fact that it allows my client to remain seated while performing the exercise.

Occasionally, after a total knee replacement, patients might experience episodes of nausea or dizziness due to medication, low blood pressure, or anemia.

Staying seated while performing the exercise reduces the risk of falling.

Weeks 1 to 4

During the acute recovery phase, the chair scoot exercise is usually performed in a reverse direction. Most of my patients are not yet strong enough to pull themselves forward in the chair.

This reverse pushing action is great for quadriceps activation and helps to improve one’s ability to perform a straight leg raise after surgery.

Weeks 5 to 8

During this phase of recovery, the hamstring muscle is often strong enough to allow my client to pull the chair forward across the carpeted floor.

Patients will often complete 2 laps of 25 feet in my clinic per episode. By the end of this exercise, the hamstring muscles and quadriceps muscles are burning and my patient is happy to stop.

Weeks 9+

By the 9th week and beyond, patients have often progressed beyond this exercise, but might still use this exercise to warm up the knee joint before stretching to gain range of motion.

How Often Should this Exercise be Performed?

This is a relatively low-intensity exercise and may be performed daily. It does not require more than a short recovery period.

The exercise should not be performed to the point of muscle failure and therefore does not require 24+ hours for a full recovery.

I recommend performing this exercise twice a week as a replacement for exercises like the heel slides or long arc quad.

How Far or How Many Reps?

I will usually recommend clients do two laps if they have the room or 10 back and forth repetitions if they are staying in a small place.

I also recommend using a rolling pin to perform some soft tissue massage between sets. This will help improve circulation and facilitate fluid exchange within the lymphatic system.

What Muscles Does this Exercise Work?

When the patient is sitting in the chair and pushing the chair back, the knee is moving from flexion to extension. This requires the quadriceps and other knee extensors to work.

When a patient is sitting in the chair and pulling the chair forward, the knee is moving from extension to flexion. This requires the hamstring and knee flexors to work.

This exercise also works the muscles of the hip and ankle in conjunction with the knee.

My most commonly prescribed exercises are combination exercises that involve the joints above and below the target joint. 

Chair Scoot Exercise Knee Flexion
Chair Scoot Exercise Knee Extension

Points to Remember

Most of the time, what you do is less important than just doing something. But if you can find something you like doing it makes the recovery process a lot more tolerable.

This chair scoot exercise is a fun variation of heel slides and other more monotonous exercises patients are doing after a total knee replacement.

Talk to your physical therapist to see if this is the right exercise for you.

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