Pilates and Total Knee Replacement
Doing Pilates following total knee replacement has a number of benefits. These include improved function, strength and balance. Within a physical therapy framework, total knee patients get care tailored to their needs throughout the post-surgery phase.
Medical professionals agree that moving ASAP after injury improves prognosis. This “early mobilization” principle applies to TKR patients as well. That’s why specialists prescribe physical therapy for them. Therapists specialize in non-invasive pain relief, improving knee range of motion, and strengthening the knee.
Add Pilates to the post-op plan of care. A physical therapist trained in Pilates uses apparatuses and equipment to supervise patients in doing low-load, therapeutic stretching and strengthening exercises.
Pilates equipment and apparatuses
The Pilates Cadillac uses spring resistance of 20-170 pounds. It allows the TKR patient to lie comfortably on his/her back while exercising. Following total knee arthroplasty, this Pilates apparatus can be configured to address limited range of motion. The spring resisted exercises done on this apparatus strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings and other muscles of the lower extremities.
The Electric & Wunda Chairs
The Pilates Wunda/Electric Chair offers both seated and standing positions. Exercises done the Electric Chair vary from simple movements that isolate individual muscles to compound movements that work soft tissue throughout the hip, thighs, and calves.
Total knee replacement patients do therapeutic Pilates exercises while lying comfortably on their back. The foot bar allows for conditioning of leg and thigh muscles. The physical therapist instructs the patient on the various foot placements. They promote circulation and knee stabilization.
Pilates benefits post knee replacement
All of this equipment conditions muscles above and below the knee: the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. As a result, total knee replacement patients develop stronger surrounding tissue and stable knee joints. Also, they improve their knee flexibility because Pilates emphasizes controlled flexion and extension of the knee throughout rehab.
In short, the use of Pilates equipment and apparatuses allow for creative therapeutic exercise programs that improve mobility and stability of total knee replacement patients.
Improved post-op satisfaction
Furthermore, Pilates rehab patients report more satisfaction with their total knee replacements. Brett R. Levine, an orthopedic surgeon in the Chicago area, demonstrated how patients were more satisfied with their total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasties (TKA) after taking up Pilates before and after surgery.
The videos below show how Dr. Levine came to be involved in his research.