Balance & Gait Training
Gait and balance disorders are frequent causes of fear of falling or falls that may result in high-risk injuries. When an injury interferes with your ability to function normally during the tasks of your day-to-day life, the frustration of that injury is compounded, leaving you with emotional distress in addition to physical stress and discomfort.
At FYZICAL – Northwest El Paso, we treat Gait and Balance disorders resulting from:
- Vestibular impairments
- Orthopedic injuries
What Are Gait and Balance Disorders?
There are a lot of injuries that can cause a balance or gait disorder, from foot and ankle injuries to concussions and head/neck injuries. The ability to balance and maintain posture without issue is a full-body effort, requiring the support of your inner ears, eyes, muscles and joints, nervous system, and finally, your cognitive function.
Whether impacted by a heart attack or stroke, affected by surgical complications, afflicted by illness, or coping with the lingering pain following an injury, finding support for your balance and gait can improve your quality of life by allowing you peace of mind as you do the things you love.
Causes of Gait and Balance Disorders
Physical therapy for balance and gait disorders first aims to identify and understand the exact cause of the symptoms. A treatment plan is then created which targets the problematic areas that are causing one or more bodily systems to disrupt your comfort and equilibrium. Proper gait and balance require all aspects of the body to function in harmony. By targeting weaker muscles or joints and using specialized techniques to improve muscle memory, it is possible to improve balance and restore a healthy gait.
The goal of gait training is to improve leg or foot movement to increase stability, which directly improves your ability to balance. There are many factors that could influence your balance while walking. Weakened muscles from injuries are one of the most common causes of gait disorders, but there are plenty of other neurological causes that could disrupt your walking ability. The goal of physical therapy is to target the cause of the dysfunction and restore strength and functionality, thereby providing increased balance and improved gait.
Because of the impact that your gait has on your ability to walk or run, your gait and ability to balance are frequently intertwined. An injury to one ankle could cause you to favor one foot, which may impact your balance even after the ankle injury is recovered. Often, the original injury has little to do with what is holding you back, but the lingering effects and the developed habit of depending on one side more than another can have a lasting impact long after the pain subsided.
How Physical Therapy Helps Balance and Gait Disorders
While it may seem overwhelming to engage in therapy to alter the way that you walk or your ability to balance yourself, this is a very common form of physical therapy that is largely successful. After a series of diagnostic, imaging, and functioning tests, your physical therapist will develop a program that is suited perfectly to your body’s needs.
This will typically involve addressing issues with your strength and posture, which could influence your gait. Additional strategies that are often employed with balance training include making changes to footwear, often incorporating custom orthotics to address underlying balance and gait concerns, as well as stretches to improve flexibility, recommendations to improve balance during dizzy spells to prevent further injury, and targeted exercises to build strength in specific regions of the body.
At FYIZCAL – Northwest El Paso, we are equipped with a Safety Overhead System to ensure your security. You can be confident that you will be safe and the risk of falling will be eliminated, letting you take the next step to your recovery.
By working with a physical therapist, it is possible to walk again without depending on a cane or walker. You can say goodbye to discomfort and feel comfortable on your own two feet again without the constant threat of losing your balance. Balance your life again and Contact FYZICAL - Northwest El Paso.