Marathon runner healed his knee injury with Pilates
What can get you in the bad books of a runner? Telling them to stop running. Those who run regularly swear by the thrill of the sport. Nothing deters them from their favourite mental and physical activity, not even injuries. However, this can be detrimental to the sustainability of their runs in the long term. One such passionate runner is our client at the Tardeo branch of Moushu’s Pilates. Read on to know how he ignored his body’s signals, worsening the injury and how he recovered from his runner’s knee injury with rehab Pilates.
Meniscal tear: a running injury
Harmohan is a 54-year-old long distance runner who has run multiple marathons including the Berlin and Japan Marathon. In 2020, Harmohan came to Hemal Parikh at Moushu’s Pilates, Tardeo, complaining of back pain. He was given a specific program to strengthen his core and lower back. For some time, he did the exercises but then fell off the wagon; he continued running though. With Covid taking a toll on everyone’s mental and physical health, his running was the only respite for him. He ignored the niggling pain developing in his knee, while his runs kept getting longer. His flexibility was reduced drastically. After a point, he couldn’t do a squat at all. He had ended up injuring his knee and was forced to stop running.
The MRI showed that he had a partial grade 3 complex tear of the posterior horn, indenting into the body of the medial meniscus. This injury was on the left knee, the same side as that of the original back pain. He had to undergo an arthroscopic repair surgery to repair the meniscus. Post the surgery and physiotherapy, Harmohan was eager to get back to his running. For that he chose Pilates.
Rehab Pilates for Knee
Based on his history, we realized that the injury in the knee had occurred as a result of a weak core. The lower back pain had been the first indication of weakness in the core. It was not being able to support the full weight of the body and was causing pain in the back. Hence, the load had transferred to the knee, leading to the injury by the impact of running.
This time, he came with the determination to diligently do the program designed specifically for him. We first worked on strengthening his core and lower back, along with the glutes, quads, and calves, which are essential for runners. Here are some of the exercises we did with him.
Clam: This helps in strengthening the glutes and with the alignment of the hip, knee, and ankle. Once he had undergone rehab, a theraband was added for a challenge.
Criss-cross: Runners need to strengthen their slings and especially the obliques. Criss-cross mimics the movement of running albeit in supine and helps strengthen the Anterior and Posterior oblique slings.
Leg pull in prone: This exercise which is a preparatory exercise for the plank, stabilises the core. Once his strength increased, we added shoulder taps for an added challenge.
Foot work: Special emphasis was placed on the foot work to strengthen the quads and calves, and to aid ankle mobility.
Harmohan is now back to running. “Pilates has contributed to my road to recovery – I have so much better awareness of my running form. Now there is a voice in my head which always tells me to keep my ribs down and to keep my belt muscles active, which engages the core better and that is helping me a lot.”
How runners can prevent injuries
The first step in preventing injuries is accepting the importance of rest and recovery. Second, is recognizing one’s weaknesses. When you know where your Achilles heel (or in this case, knee) lies, only then you can work on strengthening it.
Balancing your runs with a bodyweight and core strengthening workout like Pilates, can make your core stronger, prevent back pain and help in improving your balance and alignment.
We are running a series of specialized classes online and in-studio for different sportspersons, ailments and goals. You can try our limited series or even join our regular classes to get a customized plan based on your lifestyle and requirements. Get in touch with us.
A writer and Pilates instructor by profession, and a lawyer by education, Tarannum is passionate about art, travel, fitness and food. She has been practicing Pilates for the past five years at Moushu’s Pilates Studio and has experienced the transforming effects of it on her body, firsthand.