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Pilates for Injury Rehab and Prevention

Using Pilates to Help Prevent Orthopedic Injuries

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Updated March 20, 2009

pilates

Pilates can be a useful rehab modality.

Image © Sandra Gligorijevic
Pilates has become a common way to exercise. Pilates is a technique that focuses on core strengthening, balance, and flexibility. These principles are some of the same principles used in the rehabilitation of many common orthopedic problems. Therefore, Pilates is more commonly being used in the prevention and rehabilitation of these orthopedic problems.

In fact, professional athletes in some sports have started performing Pilates regularly to help develop their core strength and flexibility. It is thought that these skill may help keep the athlete injury-free and help enhance performance.

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a technique developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates developed a philosophical approach to exercises that focused on six core principles:
  • Centering,
  • Concentration,
  • Control,
  • Precision,
  • Breathing
  • Flow

How Can Pilates Help an Injured Athlete?

Pilates uses many of the same principles used to help injured athletes recuperate. Pilates focuses on control of movement, so as to prevent further injury to the body. Pilates is low-impact and does not induce inflammation and overuse syndromes. Increases in strength and improvements in flexibility are additional benefits of Pilates.

How Can Pilates Help Prevent Injury?

Pilates is being used by more athletes as a means to "crosstrain." By strengthening the core muscles, Pilates helps to teach the body more efficient and balanced movement. Pilates improves flexibility to help prevent injury. Athletes who have better core strength are thought to have better dynamic control of their movements, and are less likely to sustain injuries. This is what is known as "neuromuscular control," which has been used to prevent injuries including ACL tears and ankle sprains.

Sources:

"Clinical Pilates: the art and science of Pilates as a rehab approach" Sports Injury Bulletin.

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