After gymnast Priya Gupta tore her anterior cruciate ligament for the second time in just two years, she knew she needed a different approach to her rehabilitation routine. That’s when she turned to Pilates, which proved to be just the remedy for the Naperville teen.
“Pilates allowed me to strengthen muscles, without putting more pressure on my joints,” said Gupta, 18. “It was a great tool for rebuilding my endurance and helped me to quickly get back to dance training. Ultimately, it helped me build confidence in my dance ability.”
Pilates is a form of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. It is named after its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the series of strength-training exercises in the early 1900s.
Gupta began Pilates under the direction of Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers physical therapist Brittany Swantek, who said Pilates was a good fit for the teen because of her athletic skills and capabilities.
“Having been a gymnast and dancer myself, I knew Priya would benefit from this functional-based therapy,” Swantek said. “It allows her to work on early weight bearing and core strengthening.”
Swantek said Pilates allowed Gupta to strengthen muscles around her injured area while the joint was healing. As a result, she recovered faster.
“Pilates strengthens muscles that would not normally get as much attention,” Gupta said. “I was excited to do anything that would help my knee get stronger.”
Dr. Brett Levine, an orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, is experienced in using Pilates as a rehab tool.
“Pilates is a safe, effective and valuable fitness and rehabilitation tool to restore function, strength and balance to individuals with a knee or hip condition,” he explains.
Gupta has made remarkable progress, and she plans to pursue a dance education major at Hofstra University in New York.
“(I would tell others) to keep trying to do what you love no matter what,” she said. “Keep your head up. It (the injury) doesn’t last forever, even though it feels like it.”