The Importance of Gait Training

Most people take walking for granted. It’s something you usually learn to do before you can remember learning, and it’s simply part of life, like breathing or blinking. However, if you have an illness or injury and you can’t walk for some time, you begin to appreciate what a wonderfully complex and beautiful action simply walking actually is. 

At Shift Wellness, our specialists offer gait training, which is a type of physical therapy designed to help you gain the strength, coordination, and balance to walk, either with an assistive device or on your own. We provide a program tailored specifically for you, designed to help you overcome your personal obstacles and barriers. 

Who might benefit from gait training? 

There are several conditions and injuries that can affect your ability to walk. Some of them include: 

This is not a comprehensive list, but it affects people of every age and gives you a good idea of the range of situations that may mean you need gait training.

What do you gain from gait training?

Your gait training depends in part on why you need it. For example, if you’ve had a stroke, your training will look different from a person who needs gait training because they’ve recently had a joint replacement. 

In order to walk, you need to have muscular control, coordination, balance, strength, and at least some endurance. Each step requires a complex chain of events that includes your brain, nerves, muscles, and joints working together. Your gait training focuses on the parts of that chain where you’re struggling. 

What happens during gait training? 

If you’ve ever had physical therapy for another problem, you already have a good idea of how gait training works. Your therapist designs a program for you, then helps you work through a series of exercises and movements to help you walk. You may use machines, perform mobility exercises such as stretches, and work both with your therapist and on your own. 

Physical therapy of any kind can be difficult. Some movements may be painful, and you may feel very tired at times. However, it’s worth the effort to gain your independence and reduce your likelihood of a fall or other injury. 

Gait training may take some time, as you have to build strength and endurance, which doesn’t happen instantly. You may also go through stages of using various assistive devices as you continue to train. 

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of gait training, schedule an appointment at Shift Wellness. We’re happy to talk to you about your needs and goals, as well as answer your more general questions.

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