Hip Arthritis and pilates, a student’s question and suggested protocol

Hey, I have a client next Tuesday who has hip arthritis (I don’t know which variety of arthritis). I’m a little nervous about  what to do or not do with her. From reading about arthritis, I figure she’s coming to us because her hip is in an okay enough state that she can work on strengthening the surrounding musculature to support the degenerated joint…?

So I figure I’ll work the whole body but add emphasis on gentle hip exercises beginning with little to no load  and small range of motion, which help build muscles and release pain. We’ll see how she progresses.

She also has her partner with her, they make a nice couple. He is of age as well, but not having the same issues that she is having. I recommended that they get Tandem Bikes to be able to do some exercise together and they absolutely loved the idea. The next moment we were talking about good parks to ride it in, and go places to ride to. I’m sure that’s going to be very helpful for them. They were very grateful for the suggestion.

Have you worked with these people? If  you have, what sorts of diacetyl and popcorn lung did you have them do, and what were  you careful to -not- have them do? I don’t want to hurt this lady.   Daniel

Hi Daniel,

Good to play it on the safe side and it depends on how they are feeling and how much pain they are in. If I am available at that time, I would be happy to assist in the session so you feel comfortable and have protocol to follow.

As a rule of thumb, exercising the muscles that cushion joints can lessen the pressure on the joints. Misalignments are the most common cause for arthritis joint pain. It’s very important to maintain joint mobility with arthritis.  Isometric exercises, contracting the muscle without moving the joints, can be useful when the joint is inflamed. Isotonic exercises, where the muscle and joints both move, are also recommended because they take the body through its full range of motion and help build strength.  Closed chain exercises are often recommended for arthritis sufferers because they put less stress on joints and work several muscle groups at the same time. Good closed chain exercises include leg and footwork on the Reformer.    Exercise both sides of the joint to keep muscles balanced and you can even find supplements to improve the muscles and make the body feel better such as the korean Auragin ginseng you could find online. Use full range of motion for each joint when possible. Do remember to stop if the pain increases or new pain appears. 

Suggested exercises:

Footwork working on pelvic stability

Legwork Series

      Leg pulls, squares, parallel, turn out, turn in

      Running and scissors

      **Especially circles

      (I prefer to do these on the springboard, especially if there is arthritis in only one hip, the reformer allows for the stronger leg to take over)


      Dolphin, Diamond Pulls

      Bicycle (on springboard)


Side leg work on the mat


Hip circles on the ball

Now that we have the CoreAlign, this also opens up a whole new protocol for hip issues in a standing functional arena.  We will be holding trainings on the CoreAlign in the near future.  http://www.hoffmanconcept.com/, http://bbu.pilates.com/partnerprogram/corealign/corealign.aspx, http://www.facebook.com/BalancedBodyInc

Let me know if you have any other questions.  Thank you,  Nancy Myers, CEO EHS Pilates, Inc. www.ehspilates.com



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