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KNEE Safety and Awareness
A Client Handout
By Randee de Rosa

Safety and awareness are the two most important factors in Pilates. Your Pilates instructor will try to educate you in proper exercise form, but you are ultimately responsible for your own body awareness. As instructors we will do everything we can to provide a safe environment for our clients, but there are things that you can do to ensure your own safety. First and foremost, let your instructor know if you have previously suffered from a knee injury. Without being aware of this knowledge, your instructor may unknowingly ask you to do exercises that could cause pain or re-injure your knee. Besides letting the instructor know of your previous knee injury, there are steps you can take to maintain a healthy knee. Listed below are some recommendations to apply in your Pilates session and everyday activities to protect your knee.

Things to AVOID if you have had a knee injury
1. DO NOT workout if you are currently suffering from a knee injury, wait until it heals
2. DO NOT work through the pain or continue a movement if you are experiencing ANY level of pain (work within your personal comfort zone)
3. Hip alignment; DO NOT use a posterior pelvic tilt (12 O’clock) during plie¢s, squats, lunges, walking down stairs or running
4. DO NOT stretch the front or back of the knee beyond a normal range of motion
   a. Bending the knee past 30°, in hyper-flexion (Sitting back on heels)
   b. Straightening the knee past 180°, in hyper-extension (locking the knee out)
5. Avoid activities that require sudden changes of direction, pivoting or twisting
6. Kneeling directly on the knee cap/patella

Things TO DO if you have had a knee injury
1. Remind your Pilates instructor of your past knee injury prior to each Pilates session
2. Warm up properly before your Pilates session
3. Work within your comfort zone
4. Keep yourself at a healthy weight; overweight leads to knee joint compression
5. Focus on strengthening your knee muscles, not stretching
   a. Balance the strength of opposing leg muscles; flexors/extensors and adductors/abductors and calves/shins
   b. When stretching; focus on releasing tight muscles rather than forcing a stretch
6. Maintain proper posture (primarily work in a neutral spinal/pelvic alignment
7. Continue to strengthen the abdominal, lower back and buttocks core muscles, which will assist in reducing knee joint compression and knee muscle strain
8. Use ice to reduce inflammation when ever experiencing swelling or twinge signals
9. Use your breath to set the pace of your workout; a slower velocity allow time to be aware and control the movement
10. Practice patella retraction when straightening the knee

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to the recommendations listed above please consult your instructor or physician

With safety and awareness you will be able to avoid injury in Pilates and in your everyday life.
Taking these steps and being aware of your body’s needs will help provide a safe and healthy workout.

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