Gait training is physical therapy that helps people learn or relearn walking. It usually involves exercises and activities done in a specialized clinic, although some patients may do some of their therapy at home.
Gait training can help people with balance, mobility, and coordination due to stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other conditions.
Gait training may also help prevent running injuries. Many runners suffer injuries because they do not control their bodies when they run. Gait training can help you learn how to run with good form and reduce your chances of getting injured.
There are different types of gait training, and the type that is right for you will depend on your needs. Some common types of gait training include:
Balance training: This type of therapy helps you improve your balance and coordination. It may involve exercises on a specialized balance board or with a therapist who can help you stay safe while you practice.
Strength training: This type of gait training helps you build up your legs and trunk muscles. This can help you improve your ability to walk and make it easier to control your body when you move.
Treadmill training: This type of therapy uses a treadmill to help you practice walking or running. The treadmill can be set to different speeds and inclines, which will allow you to practice at different levels.
Progressive resisted gait training: This type of therapy uses machines or devices that help you resist your movement. This can help improve your muscle strength and control.
Cueing: This type of therapy uses verbal or physical cues to help you improve your movement. For example, the therapist may give you a signal to help you lift your foot higher.
Sensory integration: This type of therapy helps you use your senses (sight, sound, touch, and smell) to improve your movement. The therapist may use special equipment or exercises to help you with this.
Running Injury Prevention
Running is a high-impact activity that can lead to injuries. The most common running injuries are:
Achilles tendonitis: This inflammation of the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the Achilles tendon, especially when running or walking uphill.
Plantar fasciitis: This is an inflammation of the plantar fascia, a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Symptoms include pain in the heel and arch of the foot, especially when standing or walking.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome: This condition causes pain around the kneecap. Symptoms include pain in the front of the knee, especially when going up and downstairs.
Shin splints: This condition causes pain in the shin, the bone in the front of the leg. Symptoms include pain in the shin, especially when running or walking uphill.
To prevent running injuries, it is important to:
Warm up and stretch before you run. This will help to loosen your muscles and prepare them for exercise.
Wear shoes that fit well and are appropriate for your running.
Stretch after you run. This will help to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
Hydrate properly before, during, and after running.
Avoid running on hard surfaces, such as asphalt or concrete. Try running on softer surfaces, such as grass or a trail, instead.
Take periodic breaks during long runs. This will help to prevent overuse injuries.
See a physical therapist if you are experiencing pain or other symptoms related to running.
Modify your running routine as needed to prevent injuries. If something is hurting, stop doing it!
If you have problems with your gait or are at risk for running injuries, ask your doctor or physical therapist about gait training. It may be just what you need to help you walk and run better.
At Dynamic Rehab, we are experts in gait training and running injury prevention. We can help you improve your stride and stay healthy while running. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, our team can provide you with the care you need to prevent injuries.
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