WALK of LIFE
Bipedal walking is an important characteristic of humans. Gait is the manner, pattern or style of walking. The entire body moves during walking. A faulty movement or pattern in any segment of the body can have an effect on the gait pattern. The gait cycle is composed of the stance phase (60% of gait) when the foot is in contact with the ground from the heel strike to the toe-off of the same foot, and the swing phase (40% of gait) when the foot is not in contact with the ground, which is the normal weight bearing phase of gait. Proper body movement and timing are essential to normal gait. Physical Therapists are looking at symmetry of arm swings, stride length, weight shifting of hips, movement of the trunk and foot alignment, as well as other areas to fully assess the cause of a patient’s dysfunction.
Some of the abnormalities seen at the clinic which affect how a person walks are:
- Forward flexed trunk position due to decreased spine mobility (spinal stenosis).
- Trendelenburg gait due to weakness of hip abductor muscles causing the hip to drop towards the same side of the leg swinging forward.
- Hip extensor weakness causes patient to compensate with an increased posterior trunk position to maintain alignment of pelvis in relation to trunk.
- Quadriceps weakness or instability at the knee joint will cause the person to hyperextend the knee for stability.
- Tight calf muscles will result in a compensated gait of toe walking.
- Hallux rigidus results is a lack of big toe dorsiflexion, which will affect the gait pattern.
- Leg length discrepancy can be a result of a pelvic asymmetry, or an uneven bone length of the tibia/shin or femur/thigh. This will cause an asymmetrical gait pattern of a pelvic dip or toe walk.
- Get your groove back at NJPTA by letting us assess your gait.