No one would think of walking as a perishable skill. Without practice and repetition, walking can become a sloppy waddle. This skill involves multiple intricate components of muscle activation and nerve coordination. The foot and ankle need to be well synchronized to complete good heel-to-toe progression after the heel strikes the ground. The knee and hip must flex and extend at appropriate times. Finally, the pelvis must be able to hold the entire torso up during the precarious moment that a person is standing on one leg as the other leg swings forward. Normally, the individual does not have to consciously think about any of this movement. Sometimes walking is worth a second thought, especially when it hurts to walk.
Foot and ankle coordination can be simply improved by mindfully thinking about flexing the ankle so the toes don't drag on the ground as the leg swings through and mindfully thinking about pushing off after the foot has struck the ground. Many trips and fall...
Treating the cause often improves the gait. For example, gait abnormalities from trauma to part of the leg will improve as the leg heals.
Physical therapy almost always helps with short-term or long-term gait disorders. Therapy will reduce the risk of falls and other injuries.
For an abnormal gait that occurs with conversion disorder, counseling and support from family members are strongly recommended.
For a propulsive gait:
Encourage the person to be as independent as possible.
Allow plenty of time for daily activities, especially walking. People with this problem are likely to fall because they have poor balance and are always trying to catch up.
Provide walking assistance for safety reasons, especially on uneven ground.
See a physical therapist for exercise therapy and walking retraining.
For a scissors gait:
People with a scissors gait often lose skin sensation. Skin care ...
Knee pain from arthritis is often the reason for having a knee joint replacement called total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The TKA reduces pain but at a price. The quadriceps muscle along the front of the thigh straightens the knee. Control of this muscle is reduced after TKA. This problem can persist a year or more after surgery. Poor muscle performance has been linked with increased risk of falling, reduced walking speed, and difficulty getting up out of a chair. Many studies have shown that a loss of knee extension is common after TKA. This study goes beyond that and looks at the cause for the decrease in muscle force after TKA. Rehab suggestions are offered. The key problem is failure of voluntary activation. This means that the patient is trying hard to straighten the knee, but the muscle isn't contracting fully. Pain, swelling, and joint damage may be part of the cause. However, simply reducing knee pain doesn't improve muscle contraction. This study shows the importance of special musc...
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