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The benefits of doing Pilates before and after a hip or knee replacement

The benefits of doing Pilates before and after a hip or knee replacement


For individuals in recovery after a knee or hip replacement surgery, getting used to a new joint can take a lot of time. While you can expect, over time, to achieve a significant reduction in pre-op pain, it is necessary to overcome any bad habits used previously to compensate for that pain. Pilates is considered a great rehabilitation activity for these patients.

Today, hip and knee replacements are becoming very common procedures. This surgery involves removal of a damaged joint usually caused by osteoarthritis, and replacement with an artificial joint made out of either a metal or plastic component. Joint replacement surgeries carries similar risks as any other major orthopaedic surgery. This includes risk of infections, blood clots and stiffness in the replaced joint. However, with the correct rehabilitation and gradual return to activity these risks can be reduced.

It is expected that the patient will experience some balance issues post surgery. There will also be a weakness in the operated leg. Stiffness in the joint may be experienced following a joint replacement surgery.

Physiotherapy is important for encouraging the healing process and ensuring the optimal outcome for a recovering patient. Chartered physiotherapists may use a combination of different techniques to treat patients such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, dry needling, exercise therapy and of course, Pilates.

What benefits can Pilates offer patients before and after a joint replacement surgery?

Pilates helps individuals to rebuild patterned movements as well as maximise the benefits of their new artificial joint after surgery. Instructors and chartered physiotherapists use Pilates to treat patients in order to restore alignment in the body and ensure the replaced joints are in optimal position. This will also help to correct imbalances that could exacerbate the condition and prolong the recovery process. By focusing on the exercises that improve muscle strength it will allow the patient to gain full control and mobility of the new joint. Pilates is also beneficial for identifying and correcting the coping mechanisms patients develop during their injury to cope with any pain. Doing so gives the patient confidence in their new joint and improved mobility in their everyday lives.

It is advised that joint replacement patients start Pilates classes before surgery to encourage the overall success of the procedure and reduce the recovery period. Many Pilates exercises help knee and hip issues to maintain range of motion in order to strengthen the surrounding tissue. Core strengthening exercises will help patients to improve their balance and give them confidence in their stability post surgery. Pilates before surgery is a safe and effective way to prepare you body for the operation and help you prepare for your new joint. Following a joint replacement surgery, there may be a waiting period of up to 12 weeks where you may be unsuitable for Pilates. Discuss this with your surgeon or physiotherapist.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, we offer a range of Pilates classes for various levels and injuries provided by a chartered physiotherapist. If you wish to know more about our classes, please get in contact with us here.

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