Do you ever feel unsteady on your feet? Have you noticed pain or discomfort in your hips or knees when walking? If these problems sound familiar, you could be dealing with gait problems. Gait abnormalities stem from various causes and quickly disrupt your daily functioning. At Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy near 60651, our team can help you get to the root cause of your gait problems and help you feel more confident on your feet. Continue reading to discover how physical therapy can help gait!
What Are Gait Dysfunctions?
Gait dysfunctions create abnormal or irregular motions in walking and running and can become more pronounced as you age. Walking requires several areas of your brain and body to work together harmoniously, so if you experience problems in any of these areas, it could lead to gait abnormalities. Some of the common causes of gait disorders include:
- Inner ear disorders.
- Neurological Disorder.
- Foot Condition.
- Ill-fitting Shoes.
- Degenerative diseases like arthritis.
Types of Gait Disorders
Since gait abnormalities can derive from so many possible causes, there are several classifications of gait disorders. Some specific gait disorders include:
- Scissors Gait – This type earns its name from the way the knees and thighs cross or hit in a scissors-like pattern while walking. The pelvis, hips, and legs become angled, making an individual appear crouching. Patients with scissors gait take small and slow steps, and this issue commonly occurs in patients with spastic cerebral palsy.
- Spastic Gait – Spastic gait is common to those with multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, as they often experience long-term one-sided muscle contraction. One leg is stiff and drags in a semicircular motion while walking.
- Propulsive Gait – Propulsive gait is commonly found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It is characterized by a rigid, stooping posture where the neck and head are bent forward. The steps are shorter and faster.
- Waddling Gait – A waddling gait can be present from birth. Exaggerated movement in the trunk area produces a waddling, duck-like walk.
- Steppage Gait – Patients with foot drop often have a steppage gait, as they cannot lift their ankle. Since the ankle slaps off the ground, a patient will often lift that leg higher to clear the foot while walking.
These are only a few of the various possible gait dysfunctions. If you believe that you are walking differently, our experts at Free Body Physical Therapy can perform a gait assessment.
Can Physical Therapy Help Gait?
Our movement specialists at Free Body Physical Therapy, physical therapy near 60651, will use several strategies to diagnose your gait dysfunction. We will perform a comprehensive evaluation and conduct various tests to discover more about your condition. A physical therapist can play a critical role in helping patients improve their gait. Our team will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to address your unique needs and goals and treat your specific condition. Some of the ways our physical therapists can help include:
- Pre-Gait Therapy – Before starting gait training, our team may have you perform exercises and activities to help you understand how to improve your gait dysfunction. This therapy can include standing and lifting your leg in place to more advanced strategies like stepping in place.
- Gait Training – Physical therapy for gait dysfunctions aims to help you retrain how you walk. Since your underlying issue can be neurological, muscular, or vestibular, there can be several variations in your training. We will design the safest plan to target your specific needs.
- Bracing or Splinting – If your dysfunction results from paralysis or weakness of a ligament, we may teach you how to use braces or assistive devices to help you move.
- Balance Training – We may teach you balance activities to help you stabilize your walking pattern.
Contact Us: Physical Therapy Near 60651
While gait dysfunctions can be challenging to manage, they do not have to interfere with your life and goals. Our dedicated staff at Free Body Physical Therapy , physical therapy near 60651, will help you find the best techniques to improve your walking ability and confidence. To discover more about physical therapy for gait problems, contact us today and request an appointment!