Gait examination is the analysis of walking problems by visually examining the interaction of the low back and the joints of the thighs, legs, and feet during the various stages of walking.
When performing a gait examination various stages of walking are observed including, initial contact, loading response, mid stance, terminal stance, pre swing, mid swing, and terminal swing.
Many back, thigh, leg, ankle, and foot problems may be caused by or manifest themselves in subtle gait abnormalities.
Gait training involves retraining the patient to improve their ability to walk as close to normal again. This training may involve:
- Endurance exercise
- Balance exercises
- Visual/video training with feedback
- Verbal cues to improve walking patterns
- Training on different surfaces (grass, stairs, pavement, uneven surfaces)
There are a number of patients that can benefit from gait training including:
- Post-surgical hip, knee, ankle, foot patients
- Post-fracture patients
- Post-surgical spine surgery patients
- Patients with injuries to joints
- Patients with spinal cord injuries
- Vestibular/vertigo patients
- Neurologically involved patients
- Patients at risk for falls
- Stroke patients
- Numerous others