G A I T      T R A I N I N G

Gait training to most people might appear as un-necessary. While most people simply walk without any difficulty there are many who are very much in need for this type treatment. Any injury to your body that involves difficulty with standing therefore affects the way you walk will require gait training. Any pain to our body will make us deviate from the normal way of moving our legs. Prolonged pain lasting several weeks or months can permanently alter the way we walk. People in this type of situation will require gait training to get back to normal. Normally there are three stages in walking: heel strike, mid stance, and toe off. In the figure 1 observe heel strike imagethe left leg as it advances and initiates a step with "heel strike". In a normal walk the leg will swing slightly past the point of heel strike, and than will return down and in the back direction to actually do the heel strike.

heel strike imageAs the heel strikes the ground it creates pulling force which moves our body forward. At this point the foot is stationary as the body moves forward. It is important to note that our center of gravity is about two inches below the navel. When this point is above the left foot (in this case) we are passing the point of mid stance (figure 2). This point happens every time when either left or right foot is exacly below our center of gravity.

As our body continues to move the left foot will enter the final stage in this gate pattern, the toe off (figure 3). If you pay attention to the last figure you can see that the left foot is now with the heel slightly rised and the toes are now pushing the body forward. This example is looking atheel strike image the left leg which is colored red for better visualization. The right leg is going through the same process but it is opposite the left leg. When the left leg is doing the "heel strike" the right leg is doing the "toe off". These very coordinated moves make our body move forward in smooth fashion.

Most people would not be able to describe with their own plain words "how do we walk?". Their common answer is always "you put one foot in front of the other and so on". If you would try to demonstrate this explanation, you would fall backwards because the explanation is missing one crucial piece of information. You need to lean forward first. The simplest explanation is to say "to walk you need first to loose your balance in the direction you wish to move in and then move one leg in same direction to prevent the fall, and so on".