Are you looking for healthy knees?
The knee joint is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body. It is inherently unstable. For this reason, dynamic stability is essential in the muscles and ligaments surrounding the knee. It is also one of the most commonly injured joints and the most injuries to the lower extremities. The bones, cartilage, and tendons work in synergy for the knee to function by bending and extending. Due to the number of moving parts in this joint, it is prone to multiple types of injuries.
The most common types of knee injuries include:
Knee Fractures: The patella (knee cap) looks after the sensitive parts in the knee joint. The patella is also the first part to touch the ground when falling.
Knee Dislocation: This is when the bones of the knee joint come out of place, a dislocation of the knee cap can happen. Usually, this is when a big impact to the knee occurs like a fall, a collision, or a car accident.
Knee Ligament Injuries: This type of knee injury is very common in sports. All the ligaments in the knee help to keep the knee in place. When the knee is extended or moved in a way it shouldn’t move, the ligaments can stretch and or tear.
Meniscus Tear: This is a very common type of sports injury that can result from explosive and jumping actions that include twisting or quick changes of direction or from wear and tear.
Knee Tendon Tear: This injury is common in just about everyone, but occurs most often in middle-aged people participating in sports involving running and jumping.
Knee pain, but not from trauma
Many people get knee pain yet it is not from any pathology. This is often from an imbalance or misalignment somewhere else in the body. Usually, this misalignment comes from the hip area or the feet. Pain can also come from tension. Pilates is phenomenally good at recorrecting movement patterns and strengthening the muscles around the knee while addressing the whole body. Pilates helps the following: the knee extensors (quadriceps), flexors (hamstrings, sartorius, gracilis, popliteus and gastrocnemius), gastrocnemius (dynamic stabilizer stopping hyperextension), gluteus medius (abductors and external rotator of the hip when the hip is flexed it helps the femur).
How can Pilates help with knee pathologies?
Pilates is not purely rehabilitation yet it is a phenomenal somatic that allows healthy re-training in movement. From the fundamental exercises to using springs to help flex and extend the knee, to non-weight bearing exercises, Pilates is great to strengthen the knee while addressing the whole body.
Pilates focuses on good knee alignment, biomechanix, and tracking of the knee. This is done standing, lying supine, on the side, and prone. Pilates balances out the muscles of the whole body so that the correct muscles are firing and are equally strong. Often weak hip abductors or quadriceps that are too strong or hamstrings that are too weak or tight need balancing out in the body.
Pilates cues full knee extension so that the whole quadricep is working in its full range.
Pilates improves balance which helps the tracking of the knees and the muscles of the knees to work in an unstable environment.
Pilates works on proprioception for quick adjustments that the knee may need to take in everyday living.
Pilates can modify exercises for the individual who cannot/should not do deep knee bending.
Pilates can reinforce healthy movement patterns to benefit your knees. Whether there is a chronic injury or just misalignment, Pilates can play a significant role in addressing the symptoms and the victims.