Pilates for Knee Replacements: What to do for Maximum Recovery

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is on the rise! With improvements in less-invasive procedures, reduced in-patient or hospital time, and a high rate of positive outcomes, the number of knee replacements in the country is expected to reach almost 4 million procedures by 2030.

If you’re planning for a knee replacement or are in a stage of recovery, you may be wondering how you can maximize rehabilitation to optimize healing.

Pilates is an excellent exercise that has been shown to aid knee rehabilitation with targeted, modified exercise that is suitable for both pre- and post-operative recovery.

Pilates Primer

So, what is Pilates? Started almost 100 years ago, the Pilates method uses breathing techniques, posture, and coordination of the mind and body to improve health, well-being, and overall fitness. By focusing on the body’s motion and actions, Pilates can help strengthen minor muscle groups that, in turn, aid in improving major muscles.

A fundamental aspect of Pilates that offers tremendous benefit to all conditions is a focus on stretching and strengthening the core muscles of the body. A broad area of the pelvic floor up to the rib cage, the core helps us maintain balance, posture, and stability.

Maximum Recovery for Knee Replacements

Pilates is suitable for the young, old, fit, unfit, elite and non-athletes, alike. Pilates is known to be a useful tool to both prepare for an operation and also to rehabilitate from injury, surgery or a chronic condition. To maximize recovery from a knee replacement, consider these three important aspects of Pilates.

  • Preoperative Pilates: At least three months before surgery

Following assessment from your physician and based on pre-knee replacement motion and discomfort levels, Pilates is recommended as you prepare for surgery. At Firehaus Pilates we call this program “PRE-lates”!

Working with an experienced and certified Pilates instructor, embracing Pilates exercise before knee replacement surgery is a great way to ensure optimal benefit from surgery. Your Pilates instructor will work with you to create an exercise regimen that accommodates your unique situation.

Participating in Pilates before surgery allows the body to create muscle memory, increase mobility, and build strength around the knee and its supporting ligaments, muscles, and tendons. You will also start a Pilates routine, get comfortable with the studio, and begin building a relationship with your Pilates instructor. All of these are outstanding benefits to get the most out of your new knee!

  • Postoperative Pilates: From doctor’s release to six months after surgery

Ab Separation - Diastasis Recti RehabOnce knee replacement surgery is complete, work with your doctor to understand the best timeframe for when you can begin rehabilitation. After you’ve got the medical approval, resume or start your Pilates exercise regimen with a trained instructor.

Your instructor will assess surgery outcomes and develop a suitable rehabilitation program. The focus will continue to be on training that comes from the core, slow and controlled movement, and incorporating proper breathing. Programs will advance to include exercises that target range of motion of the knees, strength and muscle memory development, and improvement of knee flexors and extensors.

Using this approach with a certified instructor, Pilates clients can progress to more challenging exercises from three months or so following the knee replacement operation. In no time, Pilates will increase the flexibility, strength, and stamina of the knee. Clients will soon realize improvements in balance and gait.”

About six months after knee replacement surgery, Pilates programs are developed as a longer-term exercise regime for both continued rehabilitation and also optimal health and fitness.


  • Premier Pilates Instruction


For maximum recovery after any surgery, it’s important that you work only with certified, qualified, and experienced Pilates instructors. Make sure you evaluate a Pilates instructors  training background to see if they have qualifications and experience in rehabilitation.

Quality Pilates instruction will help you understand the knee replacement operation, its effects on the body, and the best approach for recovery. Understanding these key elements creates the most successful rehab Pilates programs!

If you’re interested in beginning a Pilates exercise program before an upcoming surgery or you’re looking for effective options to maximize recovery following surgery, contact us! We’re experts in Pilates and how it can be best used for rehabilitation.

Comments are closed.