Gait Training

Gait training teaches children and adults to stand and walk, either for the first time or after an injury, illness, or accident. Gait training typically involves exercises and stretches that improve muscle and joint strength, posture, endurance, muscle memory, coordination, and balance. It also may include assistive devices (such as a cane, crutch, or walker) and exercise machines to encourage safe movement. Gait training can help anyone who has yet to develop or lost the ability to independently and safely move around. People who have had a stroke; spinal cord injury; a broken leg, foot, pelvis, or hip; amputation; or lower extremity joint replacement may benefit from physical therapy-led gait training. Gait training produces the best results when it is started early. For children, this may mean starting gait training before they start to walk. For adults, this might mean starting gait training immediately following an injury, illness, or accident—as soon as muscle and joint strength is developed enough to support mobility. Gait training also may be beneficial for elderly adults who are at risk for falling. This type of physical therapy focuses on increasing muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination as well as building endurance to decrease fatigue.