Gait is the manner in which one walks. It includes the tempo, rhythm, speed and stride. Not everyone walks properly, and this leads to several postural problems leading to other ailments. Some gaits are affected by abnormalities associated with physical conditions or deformities, including arthritis, broken bones, and amputations.
Those who have a bad gait can be physically trained by physical, orthopedic or gait therapists. These professionals help patients to correct their walking style to enhance overall health.
Knee osteoarthritis is quite painful, and the knee pain can change your gait making it difficult to walk. This is because the burden on the medial (inner) part of the knee is greater than it is on the lateral (side) compartment. If the force is shifted from the medial compartment then the patient’s gait would improve and help reduce knee pain. For this, gait training is needed with regular sessions to relearn how to walk properly.
Gait therapy is a type of physical therapy that helps patients to stand and walk properly. As already stated, patients who have musculoskeletal problems face difficulties with their gait. Gait therapy is a way for them to regain independence and helps strengthen muscles and joints, develops balance, improves posture and muscle memory, increases endurance, and rehabilitates the legs for recurring and continuous motion.
Patients, who have had knee replacements, need gait therapy to once again stand on their feet and independently move around. It is a painful process, but one that must be done immediately after the patient is strong enough after the operation. Delaying therapy only leads to problems.
As the knee takes the burden of the whole body upon it, bad gait habits can lead to muscle and joint pain, especially the knee joint. Correcting posture is the only way that can help mitigate the problem. Gait therapy, thus, helps the person, to take up better walking habits and corrects posture along the way.
Gait training is hard work. Walking is a circulatory exercise which keeps the heart and lungs in good working condition. Immobility can lead to physical and mental challenges that need to be overcome for good health. The process of relearning how to walk and how to correct one’s gait is testing and demands a lot of effort on the part of the patient. One needs to discuss all challenges and problems one faces with the therapist, in order to make gait training a more holistic experience. The results of course are independence, less falls, being able to walk properly and many other beneficial “side effects” that improve wellbeing.
If you have chronic knee pain, it is best to visit your doctor and get it checked. The doctor may refer you to a gait therapist in order to alleviate the pain once and for all. Do not let the knee pain linger. It may worsen and lead to other problems in future.
For more information, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.