It’s something the vast majority of us do every day without thinking about it. Just about every activity involves it in some regard. But like many things, it’s something many of us take for granted. Until there’s a problem.
We’re talking about walking.
Your gait is your pattern of walking. It’s how your limbs move to coordinate the rest of your body to propel you forward. And gait training is the process of teaching you how to walk effectively.
For many people, the only time they need any sort of gait training is when they’re babies first learning to walk. However, there are a number of different conditions that can cause difficulties with walking.
That’s where a physical therapist in Washington DC can help.
If you’ve encountered some issues with your gait, book an appointment to find out how your new gait affects your body.
Who Needs Gait Training?
Everybody has a unique style of walking. This style can be influenced by a variety of factors, not all of which present problems. Women, for example, tend to have differences in gait when compared with men.
Certain injuries, illnesses, and congenital conditions can cause you to need gait training.
Read below to find out more.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Stroke Recovery
A stroke is an event where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted.
Among other issues, it’s common for stroke victims to have issues with balance, muscle weakness, sensation, trunk control, and proprioception.
Proprioception is a fancy word that means knowing where the different parts of your body are without having to actually see them.
As a result of these issues, physical therapy for stroke recovery often involves gait training.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder where your immune system mistakes the protective sheath that protects your nerve fibers for a pathogen and attacks them. This can cause issues with communication between your nerves and your brain.
Among other symptoms, multiple sclerosis causes muscle weakness, fatigue, sensation issues, balance problems, and spasticity. So it’s not hard to see why this would affect your gait.
Physical therapy for neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis often focuses on gait training. This is because difficulty walking can increase the likelihood of falls and other injuries.
Through balance training, energy conservation techniques, functional strength training, and more, physical therapy gait training for multiple sclerosis can help address the underlying issues that cause difficulty walking.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition where the part of your brain that produces dopamine begins to die. We might associate dopamine with pleasurable activities, but it has a number of other responsibilities in your body as well. One of them has to do with movement.
With less dopamine, your brain produces smaller and smaller bodily movements. As a result, people with Parkinson’s disease often have difficulty with clearing their feet while walking. They may also have a hard time beginning to walk, or stopping walking once they’ve started.
Physical therapy gait training for Parkinson’s disease can help.
By teaching you to use different parts of your brain for your gait pattern, it can help you to walk more effectively and reduce the risk of falls.
Among other treatments we may use for this senior’s health physical therapy issue include the LSVT BIG protocol.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Spinal Cord Injuries
Recovery from injuries of any type can be difficult to predict. That goes double when it comes to a spinal cord injury.
In a more minor spinal cord injury, there might be no interruption in your ability to walk at all. In other cases, however, you may lose your ability to walk entirely. If the latter is the case, physical therapy treatments may be able to help you regain your ability to walk. This depends on a number of factors however, including:
- How severe your injury is
- Whether you still have sensation in your legs, pelvis, and spine
- Your age
- Your general level of health
- How long it’s been since your injury
- And more
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury that’s causing issues with your gait, it’s a good idea to speak to a physical therapist for gait training.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Broken Legs
When it comes to more serious injuries, broken legs are among the more common ones you might face. They’re easy enough to come by – a simple slip and fall or a sports or running injury is all it takes. As a result, you might think the rehab process is no big deal.
However, there are a number of complications related to your gait you can experience as a result of having a broken leg.
Your legs have three primary long bones each. Your tibia and fibula are in your lower leg – the tibia is the larger of the two – and your femur is in your upper leg. Depending on which of these you break, your physical therapy gait training for broken legs will be different.
As well, each of these bones has a number of nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and muscles around them. If your broken bone caused damage to any of these, it can create issues.
The most commonly broken long bone in the body is the tibia. As a result, physical therapy gait training for broken legs often focuses on rehabilitation for breaks in this bone.
Even in the best of cases, where you have a clean break with no complications, you’ve still spent at least eight weeks with your leg in a cast walking with crutches. As a result, your body has gotten used to getting around in this unusual way. Your leg muscles will have weakened as well, as a result of not having used them for some time.
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, we’ll help you rebuild your strength in your leg so you can get back to walking around normally.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Lower Extremity Amputations
Losing a limb is always a traumatic experience. But each comes with its own set of complications.
If you experience an amputation of part or all of one of your legs, it naturally will impact your ability to walk. However, the science of prosthetics has come a long way in helping amputees maintain their independence.
Physical therapy gait training for lower extremity amputations will play a major role in getting you used to your new prosthesis. Because while a prosthetic leg will help you maintain mobility, it’s not exactly a natural experience getting used to it.
Without physical therapy gait training, you may not be able to properly use your new prosthesis. And even if you do, you may end up walking in a way that causes other health problems in the longer term.
By learning to maintain your center of gravity, support yourself on your prosthetic limb, and understand intuitively where your prosthetic limb is at any given point, your physical therapist can help you walk safely and effectively on your new prosthetic.
Physical Therapy Gait Training For Other Conditions
Other conditions where you may require physical therapy gait training include:
Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Are you having difficulty walking?
Has a recent injury or diagnosis made it difficult for you to get around?
If so, there is help.
Book an appointment today with Capitol Physical Therapy.