You may be recommended for balance and gait training as part of your physical rehabilitation if you have had a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or any other ailment that affects your ability to walk.
Patients with lower extremity injuries or neuromuscular problems may benefit from balance and gait training activities as part of their physical therapy. The primary goal of balance and gait training activities is to improve your walking skills. Your “gait” is just the way you walk. The process of lifting your foot off the ground, stepping forward, landing on your foot, and lifting it again is known as a “gait cycle.”
Gait training will include supervised treadmill walking, maybe with a harness to keep you supported, as well as a series of exercises to increase your mobility and strength. Your balance and gait training will be tailored to your individual needs and diagnoses.
Four Benefits of Balance And Gait Training
Increase Range Of Motion
Gait training can help you enhance the range of motion in your joints as well as provide you more flexibility in your leg muscles. Working slowly and carefully with your physical therapist, you should notice that your knees, hips, and ankles have more significant movement, making standing and walking easier.
Flexibility And Muscle Tone
Strokes, Multiple Sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries can cause your muscles to contract and lock in place, making it difficult to walk. This can be excruciatingly painful or result in uncontrollable spasms. Gait training can assist spastic muscles in becoming more mobile, develop muscle tone, and potentially reduce pain.
Balance And Coordination
It would help if you got more comfortable balancing yourself as you practice balance and gait training exercises and physical therapy sessions, developing confidence as you go about your day. It should help you gain the capacity to support your weight, shift your weight from side to side, and maintain a continuous level of stability. During gait training, you should notice that your posture improves and makes it simpler to balance. Balance training will also make it less probable that you will fall and sustain injuries due to the fall.
Improve Strength And Endurance
Gait exercises are specifically designed to strengthen your legs, core, and back muscles, allowing you to restore maximal mobility and maybe stand and walk without assistance. Your muscle tone will improve as you perform strength training routines, and you will develop muscle memory, endurance and retrain your legs.
Importance Of Balance And Gait Training For Multiple Sclerosis And Parkinson’s Disease
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a severe autoimmune illness that affects the central nervous system. Balance and gait training activities can be highly beneficial for MS patients because they focus on the fundamental difficulties that cause gait ataxia rather than the compensatory walking patterns that MS patients often develop over time.
- Gait training can help to improve muscle placement, strengthen surrounding muscles, reduce muscle stiffness and spasticity, and improve joint compressions. It can also aid in the improvement of joint range of motion, particularly in the ankle joints, to prevent compensatory gait difficulties.
- Reduced walking speed, lack of stability when walking, poor balance, and a swaying head or torso to compensate for the underlying gait difficulties are all possible symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder characterized by a shortage of dopamine in the brain, leading to nervous system degradation. Muscle tremors and shakes, stiffness, and bradykinesia are symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (slowness of movement).
- Patients with Parkinson’s disease have been proven to benefit from progressive strength training, stretching, flexibility exercises, physical therapy treatment, and relaxation training. Patients with Parkinson’s disease can benefit from balance training to reduce falls and improve their confidence and quality of life.
- Treadmill training can also assist patients with Parkinson’s disease in managing several tasks while walking.
- Balance and gait training exercises are an essential part of physical therapy for various diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
If you need a device, your physical therapist can help you choose the best one for you, put it up appropriately at the optimal height, and teach you how to use it properly. Exercises for balance and gait training might be challenging, especially if you’ve been motionless for a long time.
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