Proper Walking Techniques Taught by Your podiatrist
You may have difficulty walking if you have a lower extremity accident or have had surgery. Podiatrists use “gait” to describe walking. Stepping, falling on one foot, rolling over that foot, and then raising that foot off the ground are all part of your gait cycle when you walk. Physical therapy for gait training may be recommended if you have gait issues.
Your podiatrist will use gait training activities to improve your walking ability. Various lower-body exercises are designed to improve mobility and strength, as well as simulate the repeated motions that take place as you walk.
The following are examples of common gait impairments that could benefit from gait training:
- This is Trendelenburg’s walking style.
- High-steppage gait
- Spontaneous walk
- The walk of the tragic (gait abnormalities due to pain)
Because of patellofemoral surgery or injury, you may have leg weakness or tightness that makes it difficult for you to walk. This may have an impact on your sense of balance and proprioception. Gait analysis by a physical therapist (PT) may help you get a better gait.
Check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any workout program to enhance your gait. They can ensure you’re doing it well and that it’s safe for you to do it.
1.It’s important to choose the right assistive device for your needs.
After surgery or damage to the lower extremities, you may need an assistive tool to help you walk. Help from your therapist may guide you in making the proper choice. The following are some examples of assistive devices:
- Crutches and
- a walker with wheels
- a walker of the most basic design
- Crutches made by
- Cane with four twigs
You should consult with your physician to ensure the device is properly sized for you. They may check to see whether you’re utilizing the assistive gadget correctly.
A major handicap may need assistive technology for the rest of one’s life for some individuals, while temporary usage may suffice for others. There comes a moment when it’s best to get rid of your assistive equipment.
In the physical therapy clinic, parallel bars may be helpful when working on gait training. The bars are highly solid, allowing you to utilize your arms as support while you regain your mobility.
- Exercises to Improve Range of Motion
Regaining and maintaining full range of motion (ROM) in your joints may be necessary after a lower extremity injury. Sometimes, swelling limits a joint’s range of motion (ROM).
After a period of immobility after an accident or surgery, stiff muscles or other structures might restrict the range of motion. Regaining that mobility could be part of your gait training exercises.
Lower-extremity strengthening exercises Included in ROM are:
- Pumps for the feet
- Towel calf stretches
- Increased knee range of motion may be achieved by using heel slides.
- Stretching the hamstrings
- Rotation of the hips improves flexibility.
It’s important to keep your range of motion (ROM) as open as possible when you re-learn how to walk.
- Strengthening of the lower limbs
It is possible to add strength training into a walking fitness routine. You may not be able to walk safely if you have weak hips, knees, or ankles. Your lower limbs may benefit from exercises such as:
- Lifting one leg straight up and down
- The short arc quads and quad sets
- Resistance band exercises for strengthening the ankles
- Squats with a smaller range of motion
- The rises
For lower extremity gait training programs, it is advised that you use mild resistance and high repetitions. Why? Because of the great repetition and low resistance of walking. It’s important to emulate that action in your workouts.
- Stepping Over Difficult Situations
You may enhance your walking style by focusing on the movements of your legs. Performing stepping exercises over obstacles or minor hurdles is a good approach to doing this again and over again. You must do it with your hips flexed and your knees bent high behind you when walking.
Occurrence-Based Stability Training
Obstacle gait training may be performed in the following ways:
- Approximately 15 inches apart, place five or six little obstacles. Rolling up towels, sports hurdles, or even a tiny stack of books might be used as an obstacle in the way of your progress.
- Face the hurdles and take a single step over each one.
- Your second foot should be just adjacent to your first.
- One foot at a time, go over the hurdles. Then, putting your other foot first, walk over any obstructions in your path.
- Step over the first barrier, then over another in the row until it gets easier. Be careful while striding to elevate your knee to a high position and bring your foot up upward and toward your buttocks.
- To complete the circuit, walk over the obstacles ten times.
Exercises to Improve Your Gait on the Sides
Once you’ve mastered forward stepping over the obstacles, you may go on to sideways stepping. It is possible to walk in various directions by altering your regular forward motion.
To do side-stepping gait exercises, follow these steps:
- Place all of your challenges to the side.
- Overcome the first hurdle by stepping one foot sideways. Raise your knee.
- Make sure to give enough space for your second foot to rest on the opposite side of the barrier when you place your first foot down.
- Raise your other foot high on your second toe.
- Place your next foot on top of your first foot and step backward. Continue this process until you’ve overcome all of the challenges.
Obstacle stepping necessitates standing with one leg for an extended period due to the large steps and high knees required. This may help you walk better but can also make you step more unsteadily. You should have someone with you to assist you in walking safely, so make sure you are safe when doing this activity.
Make an appointment with your primary care physician or physical therapist to see whether this workout is safe for you to undertake. They’ll be able to assist you out.
- Foot Stepping
Target stepping may help you improve your lower extremities throughout your gait training regimen. To carry out target stepping:
- A semicircle of four or five targets should be laid on the ground. The distance between the two targets should be around a foot. You may use a sheet of paper or a paper plate as a target.
- Place yourself on one edge of the floor’s goals.
- To tap a target, take a slow step forward with your foot.
- After returning to the starting location, tap another target with your foot.
- Once with one foot, then another; this is how you should go through each target. Try to land each tap gently and slowly.
Walking with your foot precisely where you want it is much easier with this exercise, promoting single-leg standing.
- Walking in a retro style
Your physical therapist may suggest you work on your gait by walking backward.
Walking backward may provide several advantages, such as:
- Strengthening of the hip flexors
- More effective stimulation of the quadriceps
- Enhanced stability
- a more fluid sense of balance2
- Walking speed has increased.
- Stance length and step length have been increased.
By putting stress on your knee muscles and joints by walking backward, it seems that you may enhance your gait.
Retro walking on a treadmill is the safest approach to include into your gait training regimen:
- To begin, place your feet on the rear of the treadmill and walk forward.
- The belt should be started at the slowest feasible pace.
- Place your toe on the ground with one foot while running on a treadmill.
- As you shift your weight to your midfoot, roll to your heel.
It’s important to keep things calm and steady while walking backward. Use the treadmill’s emergency stop feature to ensure your safety when retro-walking.
- Workouts that improve balance and proprioception
About 40% of the time, you must stand on one foot when walking. Swinging forward with one foot planted on the ground, the other swings in the air. Single-legged standing is an essential part of safe walking. Your gait training regimen should include exercises to improve your balance and proprioception.
The following are some exercises that may aid with balance and proprioception:
- Stance on one leg
- Stance on one leg on a shaky surface
- Closed eyelids in a solitary leg posture.
- Walking and standing together
- A BOSU or BAPS board in a single-leg stance
To enhance your balance, you need to put yourself in a situation where you are challenged. This implies putting yourself in a scenario where you will feel a bit unsure. After then, your body needs to make up for the shakiness.
Your balance and gait should improve as you practice. You must, however, use caution and safety when practicing your balance. Keep your balancing exercises safe by ensuring that you have a steady object to grasp.
If you have a lower limb injury that makes it difficult to walk safely and normally, physical therapy may be able to help. Your therapist can assist you in selecting the best exercises and activities to help you regain your normal range of motion, strength in your lower extremities, and balance. In physical therapy, gait training may help you return to your typical leisure and work-related activities more quickly and safely.