The efficiency of Pilates on chondromalacia


The knee is the largest joint in the human body and one of the most affected by injuries, they can be through direct trauma (shots) or indirect (sprains), overuse or misuse. The Patellar Chondromalacia is a condition that often appears in the population and is a major annoyance to those affected (Fischer, 2009).

Several techniques can be used in the rehabilitation of such injury, including, supervised training with Pilates and weights, today highlight the latest.

According Stanmore (2008), Pilates can be applied to all types of fitness, age and physical types, with the aim of strengthening general, conditioning and muscle control. The Pilates method is characterized by controlling the greatest possible control of the muscles involved in the movement (Contrology) and has aspect related to the notions of concentration, balance, perception, body control and flexibility and Western culture, emphasizing strength and muscle tone (and Muscolino Cipriani 2004).

The method can be applied mainly in two ways: Training ground: If the exercises performed by lying down, sitting or standing. The exercises coordinate strength and postural control and involve all the muscles of the body. The instructor gradually increases the intensity of exercises according to the evolution of the student.

Training devices: A class with devices can be individual or in small groups, with instruction based on an individual program with specific objectives. The use of exercise equipment that offer resistance to movement by adjustable springs, thus making them more intense.

Previously patients with complaints of pain in the anterior knee were diagnosed chondromalacia patella. However, this term should be used only to describe a possible pathological softening of the articular cartilage, not generalizing any kind of pain. (The International Patellofemoral Study Group in 1997, cited MACHADO and AMORIM 2005).

The chondromalacia is produced by abnormal repeated compressive action on the articular cartilage. This abnormal compression is not derived from the congruence and decrease the contact area of the patellofemoral joint when a subluxation or patellar dislocation is caused by an anatomical relationship and / or abnormal biomechanical (MACHADO and AMORIM, 2005). This condition can occur in four grades, namely:

I Softening of cartilage and edema

II Fragmentation and cracks in an area of 0.5 inches or less.

III cracks and fragmentation in a 0.5 inch area or larger.

IV cartilage erosion until you reach the bone.


According to Pilates Magazine in 2010, taking into account that one of the main objectives of the method is the strengthening and stabilization of the core muscles of the body along with the techniques that optimize breathing and its benefits, it assists in patellar alignment, helping in the table stabilization of chondromalacia patella. To achieve good results is interesting to evaluate the individual so you can have a correct prescription of the training program.

Costa (2008) highlights the benefits of the Pilates method, as follows:

  • Strengthens the body, especially the abdominal muscles; lengthens;
  • Develops body awareness and improves coordination;
  • It helps prepare weakened areas for rehabilitation;
  • Let the most movable joints;
  • Develops the muscles that support the spine, relieving chronic pain in the region;
  • Increases muscle contraction capacity;
  • Increases bone density;
  • Helps in the treatment of complications in the knees, shoulders and calves;
  • Improves posture;
  • Increases flexibility;
  • Improves endurance;
  • Improves the well-being and the way of quality.

Levine et al, 2007, reveals that the Pilates method can be interesting for early rehabilitation. According to the research training is interesting to increase range of motion and strength of joints affected by injury and maintaining the flexibility pre and post operation or treatment.

One should be very careful in doing Pilates with respect to their implementation. Practitioners who have limitations should be assessed and thus have their individually targeted training following the basic principles of Pilates (Mallery et al., 2003). Working muscle strength, flexibility and the gain or motion recovery are variables that must be considered (GALLAGHER; KRYZANOWSKA, 2000).

Apparently Pilates tends to be effective for treatment of chondromalacia because there is no friction, allowing increased flexibility hamstrings, which minimizes the friction between the patella and femur during operation and gains in muscle strength and can thus be accomplished by any population. The individual guidance is essential to the correct execution and without risk of further injury.

Image reference: Alfisio

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