WALKING AND BALANCE
Do you find that your balance is not what it used to be? Do you find that walking distances becomes tiresome and you may even be using an assistive device such as a cane or walker to get around? Your body’s ability to balance through the vestibular system allows you to walk without problems.
Your sense of balance enables you to negotiate uneven ground, correct for tripping over objects, and many other daily activities often taken for granted. Our ability to balance depends on three main components including: sensation from joints and muscles, the inner ear and vision. As we age, our reflexes slow down slightly. This makes it difficult to adapt to uneven terrain such as grass, cracked pavement, gravel and stairs. In addition, poor posture, weakness in the hips, ankles and poor eyesight can all contribute to poor balance.
Most people don’t understand that they have decreased balance until it is too late and they fall. Falls are the number one cause of death from injury in the US and also cause millions of fractures and injuries each year. Most of this can be prevented with the right physical therapy treatments.
Our treatments are uniquely designed to your needs. We evaluate your walking (gait) pattern to determine where you are compensating for weaknesses or poor muscle coordination. Furthermore, testing on your balance determines where we need to focus our attention on to achieve the greatest results for you. Many of our patients no longer have to use canes or walkers to walk anymore, allowing them a greater freedom of safe movement.
Many conditions can negatively impact the way you walk. Neurologic conditions, orthopedic procedures and lower extremity injuries can all affect your ability to walk normally. A physical therapist can analyze, assess and retrain you, giving you the ability to walk normally following surgery or injury. Gait training involves analysis and assessment of your dysfunctional gait pattern in order to determine the specific cause of your gait abnormality. Your physical therapist will then work with you using a series of unique exercises and activities specifically designed to correct your gait dysfunction.