Balance and Difficulty Walking

There are many different disorders and conditions that can contribute to difficulty with walking. Walking requires an incredibly complex interaction between the nervous system, muscles, and posture of the body. Without these components, your ability to walk is compromised.

Many people do not realize how badly compromised their balance is or their limitations with walking until they are quite degraded. It is often the fall, trip, or loss of balance that is the wake-up call to poor balance. In addition, the loss of ability to walk distances is a clear indicator that balance and walking mechanisms are being disrupted. Walking not only requires good balance but also the ability to know where your joints are in space (proprioception), how your joints are moving (kinesthesia), and a good range of motion and strength.

As we age, with declining activity or after an injury, walking and balancing can become difficult. With previous injuries, pain, or neurological disorders, our walking pattern can also change. When walking patterns change, abnormal stresses and strains with everyday activities can be transmitted to areas they shouldn’t. For example, if you have knee pain and you begin to limp, the opposite hip and your spine now have to take double the weight. This can lead to pain and dysfunction in those areas. The good news is that if you have difficulty walking, you can be helped. Physical therapists are the experts uniquely trained to do so.

How Therapy Helps

One of the main specialties of physical therapy is helping people to walk normally. This takes a thorough evaluation of your walking patterns, posture, range of motion, strength, balance, and coordination. Through this analysis, a treatment plan is then developed that will address your range of motion, pain, coordination, balance, and strength. The end result is the ability to walk safely and smoothly without the need for an assistive device such as a cane or walker. In cases with progressive diseases such as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease, physical therapy is critical to maintaining function, independence, and walking as long as possible. If your balance or walking is not what it used to be, Free Consultation at Toledo, Sylvania, Perrysburg, Maumee & Swanton, OH centers to discover how our physical therapists can help you walk better!

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