If you took a trip to see your favorite doctor this year for knee pain, you were in good company. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, in 2010 10.4 million people reported knee injuries to their doctor. Some knee injuries, such as fractures and ligament tears, require surgery followed by physical rehabilitation. Others, however, need to be managed on a long-term basis. But what does this mean? How do you keep your knee healthy, happy, and ready to run or walk at a moments notice?
Managing your body’s health requires three aspects: strength, stability, and mobility. The knee is dependent on the health of the joints below and above it. Movement and stability in the ankle and strength and stability in the core and hip are the most important aspects to keeping the knee healthy.
Pilates is a fantastic option for addressing these components. It provides a comprehensive approach and a qualified instructor will be able to customize the workout to your personal needs. I grabbed my friend, Dawn Casella, a certified Power Pilates instructor at Mind Body Studios at Total Fitness in Bristol, RI to demonstrate the three best Pilates series for managing knee pain.
Series 1: Leg Circles/Frog – Reformer
This series connects core stability of the Short Box Series with increasingly challenging hip stability. The reformer provides support for the low back which allows the hips to work harder.
1. Non-weight bearing exercises allows individuals to strengthen the hip while avoiding unnecessary strain on the knee
2. Incorporates the bigger hip muscles to improve power and overall strength
3. Coordinates movement between the low back, hip, and knee to improve balance
Series 2: Short Box Series – Reformer
This is series improves core stability and hip strength. The low back is unsupported so your core muscles have to do the work!
1. The first step in healthy knees is healthy core and hips.
2. This series does not put unnecessary strain on the knee
3. Great for beginners, or individuals who are returning after a knee injury. Make sure you have no knee pain with any movement.
4. Added benefit of improving ankle strength
Series 3: Press Down – High Chair
This series challenges foot and ankle stability with hip strength and core stability.
1. Coordinates the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and low back to create strong and stable movements
2. Incorporates the strength built in the Short Box and Leg Circles/Frog exercises with the added challenge of balance
3. Strengthens every muscle around the knee and hip
Your knee health can be very easily managed with just a few simple exercises. You have already committed to exercising. Why not make sure you are getting the most out of your training? Understanding what your body needs is individual and should always be discussed with your doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor. However, strength, stability, and mobility are the fundamentals of every comprehensive fitness plan. Taking control of your knee pain will leave you empowered to live the life you want.
Interested in learning more about how you can turn your everyday exercises into injury preventing exercises? We don’t blame you! Take the first step with our signature exercise. This one is on us!