How Pilates Can Help You Recover From A Knee Injury

Pilates for knee pain

I want to talk to you today about how Pilates can help recover from a knee injury. I bring this up because a recent client of mine who’s 53 years old.  She was struggling with chronic knee pain, had trouble going up and down her stairs, squatting, running, jumping. This was bothering her for the last two years, on and off.  It was keeping her from being as active as she wanted to be. She came to me and I’m going to describe different reasons why using Pilates can help someone with a knee injury.

How Pilates Can Help

The first reason is when we used something called a Pilates Reformer, which is the piece of equipment where you are basically unweighting the knee joint in a position on your back rather than standing up. And, therefore, I was able to look at any issues she was having with her alignment from her hip, knee, down to her ankle, and able to compare one side to the other. So after a full assessment, first, I put her on the Pilates Reformer and we saw that her right knee that she was having knee pain in kept rolling inward every time that she went to bend and straighten her knees when she was pushing off the bar on the reformer.

So being able to address that and teach her the proper way of holding her knee in place when she was bending and straightening, she was able to correct it and get her brain was able to connect and help those movement patterns. We did this in a variety of positions, but she wasn’t standing and weighting the joint which bothered her in some of the other exercises that she had tried doing before.

The other thing that we addressed was her flexibility. She had a lot of calf tightness, hamstring and quad tightness, which was all causing abnormal forces pulling on her knee in different ways when she was trying to be active. Specific exercises that I gave her on the Pilates Reformer helped address her flexibility deficits and she was able to get more mobile. Then finally, we worked on stability of the knee and strengthening. We found that on her right side (where she was complaining of knee pain), she also had weakness in her hip on that side compared to the other side. We worked specifically on the reformer in single leg-type exercises where we don’t get the compensation of the other side. She’s was able to push through that leg and able to hold and strengthen the hip and go through full body exercises with more stability in her whole body. This was able to really pinpoint certain things that you might not see when she’s standing up or when she’s on another piece of equipment.

So that is how I used Pilates to help my client recover from a knee injury. And I’m happy to say, within a month, she was pain-free with climbing stairs, she was able to squat, and she was able to start doing some jumping activities without as much pain in her knee. And so her ultimate goal is to get back to jump roping and running. So we’re on that path and can use the jump board as well on the reformer to start help training that and to make sure she’s in the right alignment when she is bearing weight through that leg.

I just wanted to share the story because a lot of people think of Pilates as a form of fitness, which it is. It’s a form of exercise to help posture, balance, strength, and control, and really helps compliment any other sports activity. So this client is a happy success story and she is able to go on with her life with less knee pain.

If you are interested in learning more about how Pilates might change your life, you can visit us at We have a free tips report to show you different aspects on how Pilates can help your life. So share this with someone you know that’s struggling with knee pain.  As they may not have heard of this before. Thank you… Have a great day.

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Dawn Andalon, DPT, MTC, CPI

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