Balance & Gait Disorders

Falling can be a constant worry for seniors and others who have physical challenges. And those worries aren’t unfounded. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and serious health problems in the U.S.

Balance can be thought of as our sixth sense. It’s an ability that functions so well that most of us never think about it our whole lives. But if our balance system is impaired, we immediately understand how much we were taking it for granted.

Improving your walking skills — technically known as your “gait” — and your balance are interrelated challenges. Physical therapy helps you master these skills to decrease your risk of injury, while at the same time increasing your confidence and independence.

What are the benefits of balance and gait training?

Good balance requires the integration of multiple body systems: The vestibular system of the inner ear, vision, joint mobility, muscle strength, sensation, and cognitive function all contribute to our ability to maintain our balance. This means that deficits in any one or more systems can make the usual task of staying safe while walking or standing more difficult.

Physical therapy treatment to improve gait and balance will differ depending on your particular deficits. During the evaluation we will be able to determine which system we will need to focus on: If your main difficulty turns out to be an inner ear problem you will undergo a Vestibular Evaluation (See Vestibular Disorders). If you have a musculoskeletal deficit, working to improve your joint mobility and muscle strength, combined with specific balance exercises can make a huge difference in your life. You can expect greater ease with getting up and down from chairs or the floor, you’ll feel stronger going up and down stairs, and will feel generally more confident on your feet.

Ready to “balance” your life again?

With our dedicated team behind you, you’ll regain confidence in navigating challenging terrain and learning how to manage dizzy spells. You may even be able to leave that cane or walker behind! Call us today for a consultation so you can regain your independence as soon as possible.

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