What is gait training?
Gait training is a type of physical therapy. It can help improve your
ability to stand and walk. Your doctor may recommend gait training if you’ve
had an illness or injury that affects your ability to get around. It may help you
gain independence in walking, even if you need an adaptive device.
Gait training can help:
- strengthen your muscles and joints
- improve your balance and posture
- build your endurance
- develop your muscle memory
- retrain your legs for repetitive motion
- lower your risk of falls, while increasing your
It may also lower your risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease and
osteoporosis, by increasing your physical activity and mobility. Choosing gait
training over immobility may help protect and improve your overall health.
can benefit from gait training?
Your doctor may recommend gait training if you’ve lost your ability to walk
due to an injury, illness, or other health condition. For example, the
following conditions can lead to difficulties with walking:
- spinal cord injuries
- broken legs or pelvis
- joint injuries or replacements
- lower limb amputations
- strokes or neurological disorders
- muscular dystrophy or other musculoskeletal
Children who require gait therapy often have brain injuries, neurological
disorders, or musculoskeletal issues. Their doctors may recommend gait therapy before
or after they start walking.
does gait training involve?
Your doctor will likely encourage you to start gait training as soon as
possible after an injury or illness that affects your ability to walk. They may
recommend other forms of physical therapy and treatments too. You must be
healthy enough for physical activity and movement before you begin. Your joints
must also be strong enough to support gait training.
Once you’re healthy enough to start gait training, the process is similar to
other physical therapies. It often involves machines that help you walk safely.
Your therapist may also assist you in gait training exercises. They can help support
your bodyweight, provide stability, and offer other assistance.
Gait training commonly involves walking on a treadmill and completing muscle
strengthening activities. You may wear a harness while walking on the treadmill
or doing other exercises. Your therapist may also ask you to practice stepping
over objects, lifting your legs, sitting down, standing up, or other activities.
The type, intensity, and duration of your training will depend on your
specific diagnosis and physical abilities.
Gait training can be hard work. If you’ve been immobile for a while, the
process of walking or relearning to walk may be physically and mentally
challenging. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about any challenges you’re
having. Ask them about your specific condition, gait training plan, and