Today’s blog is a special update from our very own Jayne Gort, who had knee replacement surgery on May 27.
Do you ever think about how you walk? With a focused thought on every single step? I just had my knee replaced and now every time my foot hits the floor, I have to think and concentrate on the movement all the way from my hip to my toes. Heel, ball, toe….sound familiar? Concentration – one of the key Pilates Principles!
In Pilates in Holland classes, we give cues to teach our minds to find the right muscle to make it stronger. That can be frustrating if you are there to just sweat, but this recovery process has taught me how important it is to learn the precision of movement. Precision is another Pilates Principle. Do you know how many muscles attach to your knee or assist with flexion and extension? Lots, and with surgery, they are all confused, shocked, enraged, and band together to protect the injured joint. One of the PT exercises that I need to do for strengthening is quad sets where you tighten your quad and push down. So first my brain has to find that muscle, find its communication path to trigger it to fire, and then isolate it from my hamstring muscles, who so very much want to help. It’s crazy hard!
You all know that I am a huge believer in Pilates and this experience just adds to my convictions that Pilates is good for you and your life. The strength, mind-body connection training, and flexibility achieved prior to surgery are helping me recover and be as independent as possible after surgery. Little things, like: I can put my own socks on (the nurse was impressed) and I can lift my own leg into bed without assistance (again the nurse and PT were impressed). Being able to isolate my leg from my hip joint keeps my walk from waddling. Being able to balance and feel stable, is all the core work from Pilates.
I am not an athletic person. My initial knee injury was not a fall or anything exciting. It happened in gym class when I was 14 and I landed funny after hitting a badminton birdie – not too many people can say that! But Pilates has trained me on how to move better, safer, and in a way that is good for my bones. I think Pilates also allowed me to delay the surgery as long as possible by strengthening the muscles around my knee and balancing out my body after so many years of compensations.
Just a little side note on the surgery – I had a screw in my knee from my previous injury, and the surgical team had a hard time finding a screwdriver to fit the head to remove it! Things you don’t think of. The surgery went well, and I am so encouraged every day by this Pilates in Holland community of teachers and clients who have been supportive on my journey. Thank you!
Yes, I was Pilates strong going into surgery. Pilates will also help me find the strength to become stronger in the future and recover from surgery. Pilates is good for the mind, body, and soul.