Pilates is becoming increasingly popular in the general population and within physiotherapy; its rehabilitation application should not be over looked. The objective of this study is to explore the effects of Pilates on the muscle strength, function, and instability of patients with partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injurieswhen treated conservatively. Fifty participants between 20-45 years of age with isolated ACL injuries were included and were randomly assigned to either the Pilates exercise group (n = 24) or the control group (n = 26). The subjects in the Pilates exercise group performed basic mat exercises that focused on the muscle strength and flexibility of the lower limbs and core muscles during each class session, three times per week for 12 weeks. The control group did not receive any treatment or home exercise programme. All patients were evaluated using the Lysholm Knee Scale, the Cincinnati Knee Rating System, and isokinetic quadriceps and hamstring strength. Patient satisfaction regarding improvement in knee stability was assessed using the Global Rating of Change scale. The Pilates group experienced significant improvement over the control group as measured by the difference in quadriceps strength at 12 weeks (p = 0.03). Both groups showed some clinical change over time, but the Pilates group improved for all outcome measurements at the 12-week follow-up, and the control group only improved for functional outcomes. Patient satisfaction with the level of knee stability based on the Global Rating of Change scale was higher in the Pilates group than in the control group.
Although both groups exhibited improvements in knee strength and functional outcomes, the results suggest that Pilates is a superior management approach over a control treatment for increasing quadriceps strength in participants with partial ACL injury. Pilates may provide clinicians a novel option when choosing a treatment for a partial ACL injury. Further study is needed to determine whether certain subgroups of individuals might achieve an added benefit with this approach.