Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for hip and knee replacements. A rehabilitation programme that involves the Pilates reformer can help to reduce osteoarthritis pain within the hip and knee joints. Range of motion is also improved by achieving a better balance between joint flexibility and joint strength. Because pain can create compensation strategies, you may have developed poor muscle recruitment patterns. The reformer and the Pilates Corealign can help you to rebuild balanced movement patterns and 'undo' any faulty recruitment habits.
If you are a Pilates beginner and have a hip or knee problem you should commence with an appropriate exercise programme as soon as possible. It is important that you follow a bespoke programme of Pilates exercises tailored to meet your individual needs. You may also have other physical limitations which can affect your ability to exercise so you should not feel pressured to keep up with a group such as in a floor based group mat class. If you have had surgery you should consult your GP or surgeon before commencing any exercise programme.
The Pilates reformer and the Corealign machine exercises can gradually add gentle load increases which slowly builds joint strength in both hips and knees. These exercises will help you to restore joint function and to improve your mobility. Core strengthening exercises are also important as they will help you to feel more confident and less afraid of falling.
A (2009) New York study in the use of Pilates for rehabilitation following hip (21) and knee (17) replacements found the following: 1 year following their joint replacement surgery all 38 participants reported to be either satisfied (32%) or extremely satisfied (68%) with their progress from following a Pilates programmes. (i).
You can find more information about joint replacements/osteoarthritis, and receive answers to your questions, or participate in a survey at www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/partenerships/hip-and-knee-replacement/hip-and-knee-replace.
(i) Pilates Training for use in Rehabilitation after total Hip and Knee arthroplasty: A Preliminary report. (New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases).
Leeds Pilates Centre.
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