Rehabilitation of foot and ankle injuries is an essential component of the recovery process. The goal of achieving full functional recovery and preventing chronic dysfunction relies on the advanced techniques used in the rehabilitation program. This article focuses on incorporating the Pilates method into foot and ankle rehabilitation. Techniques used in this form of rehabilitation provide the patient with the maximum opportunity for full recovery. Pilates is a unique form of therapeutic exercise that emphasizes improving strength, coordination, proprioception, muscle endurance, balance and control, and flexibility and mobility. The Pilates method is a functional form of exercise, because it combines multiple planes of movement. The exercises emphasize muscular balance between opposing muscles and between right and left sides of the body. This method can be integrated in all phases of rehabilitation. The individualized exercise program must be carefully selected and modified as needed to avoid any abnormal stress on the foot and ankle. In early phases of foot and ankle rehabilitation, the Pilates method is an excellent therapeutic exercise to maintain overall strength and general conditioning while the foot and ankle are healing. In advanced phases of rehabilitation, this method can be used to address foot and ankle weaknesses. Exercises range from low-level to extremely advanced, challenging, sports-specific maneuvers. The Pilates method has expanded to the mainstream and is widely accepted by physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons as an appropriate form of rehabilitation. By incorporating Pilates into the rehabilitation program, a patient's recovery process will be enhanced significantly.
Registered Physical Therapist, Certified Pilates Instructor, Pasadena, California.
Send correspondence and reprint requests to Deborah Mandis Cozen, R.P.T., 141 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103.
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