Many people don’t often realize that stability and balance are two of the most reliable abilities to keep the body from falling, and it is often taken for granted from the earlier stages, where infants and toddlers are learning to stand upright, to adulthood where we are walking, running or performing any physical activities. Our bodies are complex machines comprised of upper and lower portions that provide balance and stability. The lower half of our bodies helps stabilize and balance the upper half weight and allows us to move around. This is known as gait. However, when the body begins to age naturally or chronic issues begin to affect the muscles and cause an imbalance in the lower half, it can lead to many disorders associated with these imbalances. Today’s articles examine what gait is, how gait disturbances are associated with the body, and how the MET technique improves gait. We provide information about our patients to certified medical providers that offer available therapy techniques like MET (muscle energy techniques) for individuals dealing with chronic conditions associated with gait disturbances that could affect a person’s ability to walk. We encourage each patient appropriately by referring them to our associated medical providers based on their diagnosis results. We accept that education is a spectacular way when asking our providers the most crucial questions at the patient’s acknowledgment. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., assesses this information as an educational service. Disclaimer
What Is Gait?
Have you been dealing with issues when walking for a short or long distance? Do your feet or ankles seem to feel tired or ache when stepping? Or have you been dealing with mobility issues in your hips? Many of these issues are associated with gait and can cause balance disturbances in the body. So what is gait? In the book by Leon Chaitow, N.D, D.O., and Judith Walker DeLany, L.M.T, titled “Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Techniques,” gait is defined as how you walk and how each lower body section contributes to how you walk. This includes:
The book also mentions how a person progresses from one location to another using muscular action and gravity to make them walk. Two functional units are in a casual relationship contributing to gait: the passenger and locomotor units. The passenger unit consists of the upper extremities, like the head, neck, arms, trunk, and pelvis, to be the center of gravity when moving forward. At the same time, the locomotor unit comprises the pelvis and lower extremities, like the legs, knees, feet, and ankles, to support the weight of the upper extremities and perform structural stability and mobility to make the body move forward.
Gait Disturbances Associated With The Body
So what happens when traumatic factors or natural aging begins to affect the body and causes gait disturbances. Research studies reveal that since gait depends on the interplay of the nervous, musculoskeletal, and cardiorespiratory system which can be influenced by age and other factors that can lead to issues in the lower extremities causing falls and injuries. Many factors can lead to gait disturbances that can affect how a person walks and how it can affect the joints and muscles, which can lead to pain-like symptoms. Additional studies mentioned that gait disorder affects elderly adults, increasing their fall risk and leading to mobility issues in their hips. Muscle shortening and joint health are other issues that can cause gait disturbances in the lower extremities. When the muscles in the lower extremities are tight and weak, it can cause them to be short and be accompanied by joint dysfunction. The health of the joints in the lower extremities depends on the balancing strength of the opposing flexor muscles. When the flexor muscles lose part or all of their function, it can cause the joint to be hyperextended. To that point, it causes abnormal joint stress, corresponding to lower back pain associated with gait disorders affecting a person’s ability to walk and keep their body balanced.
An Overview Of Gait Analysis-Video
Have you been dealing with mobility issues in your joints? Do you find yourself becoming unstable every time you walk? Or do your leg muscles feel tight? If you have been dealing with these issues, it could be due to a gait problem. Many people have different ways of walking; if there are issues, they can be pointed out in an examination. When there is an issue with gait, it can indicate pain and other revealing problems that can affect the entire body. The video above explains the gait cycle and gait analysis of a person’s walk. Gait analysis is often used in a normal examination to evaluate how a person walks, their body mechanics, and muscle activity to provide insight into the issue. A person’s gait can offer many important clues that doctors and pain specialists can see and identify the problem by developing a treatment plan to improve a person’s gait and reduce pain-like symptoms.
How The MET Technique Improves Gait
So many treatment plans can effectively improve balance and gait disorders in the body. Many pain specialists like chiropractors use manual spinal manipulation to re-align the spine to loosen stiff joints that may have contributed to imbalances in the lower extremities. MET (muscle energy technique) and physical therapy can help stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the muscle groups affected. MET and other approaches to improve gait allow many individuals to regain their stamina and adopt new strategies for their posture and movement. These therapy treatments will enable a person to feel more confident and more aware of how they walk while providing muscle strength to the affected muscles to prevent fatigue and decrease the chances of injuries in the future, as studies reveal.
Walking is determined by a person’s gait and how they move in different scenarios. Our bodies are comprised of upper and lower portions that correspond with gait and allow us stability and balance when we are in motion. When various issues like traumatic factors or just normal aging affect the body, the joints and muscles can cause problems with a person’s gait, leading to balance issues and fall injuries. Incorporating treatment plans to improve gait can help prevent future chances of injuries and help stretch and strengthen the affected muscles while loosening up stiff joints. This allows a person to regain their balance and improve stability in their bodies.
Baker, Jessica M. “Gait Disorders.” The American Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Dec. 2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29288631/.
Chaitow, Leon, and Judith Walker DeLany. Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Techniques. Churchill Livingstone, 2003.
Pirker, Walter, and Regina Katzenschlager. “Gait Disorders in Adults and the Elderly : A Clinical Guide.” Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318488/.
Van Abbema, Renske, et al. “What Type, or Combination of Exercise Can Improve Preferred Gait Speed in Older Adults? A Meta-Analysis.” BMC Geriatrics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 July 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4488060/.
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