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Do you ever feel unsteady, or not quite as sure-footed as you used to be? Do you find yourself reaching for walls or furniture just to stay balanced? Do you experience pain in your hips, knees, or other joints that have completely altered the way that you walk? If so, balance and gait disorders could be the cuprit.
Balance and gait disorders can develop for a variety of reasons and can be physically and mentally disrupting. Underlying musculoskeletal and neurological disorders can cause or aggravate a balance or gait problem. Thankfully, physical therapy has the ability to reduce your symptoms or fix the issue altogether. For more information on how you can steady your balance and gait troubles, contact Good Hands Physical Therapy to request an appointment today!
There is no one set reason behind why you’re having trouble with balance and gait disorders, as they can develop from a wide array of underlying conditions.
Many balance disorders are related to issues in the vestibular system, which is a delicate collection of fluid-filled chambers and sensory nerves, located in the inner ear, and thousands of nerve receptors in the joints throughout your body. The vestibular system is responsible for your sense of position, also known as “proprioception.”
This happens when calcium debris breaks off in the inner ear, resulting in issues with balance.
This may include Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, or stroke. Any ailment that impacts your neurological system can also affect your balance.
Even if your brain and nervous system are working in harmony with one another, a sudden injury, disease, or other ailment causing muscle weakness can interfere with your balance and make it difficult to keep yourself upright.
Balance and gait disorders belong to a family of functional problems that interfere with your positional awareness, your normal means of walking or running, and your ability to keep yourself upright.
Even though balance and gait disorders are closely related, they do have some distinct differences. Balance disorders are both physical and mental, causing your brain to think the body is moving, even when it’s not. Changes to your joint strength, mobility, and ability to sense where your joints are in space (proprioception), all have physical consequences on your balance.
Gait disorders can cause abnormal movements to the way you walk and run, and these can become exaggerated with age. According to Move Forward Physical Therapy, 17 percent of senior falls are due to gait disorders.
When thinking about the best possible options for improving your balance and ability to walk, physical therapy is the best possible option. Our specialized physical therapists in Bridgewater, NJ will conduct a comprehensive physical evaluation to examine your balance, gait, stance, medical history, and symptoms. Then a customized treatment plan will be tailored to your individual needs. The treatment plan may include:
Stretching will help to increase your overall flexibility and range of motion. This will allow you to have quicker reactions and more control over your movement all while reducing your risk of injury. It will also prevent your muscles from becoming too tight and stiff.
This physical therapy treatment works to improve your muscles, nerves, vision, and the vestibular system as a whole, in order to sustain a steady balance. If you are suffering from BPPV, our Bridgewater, NJ physical therapists will provide you with specific exercises that will move the calcium debris to the correct parts of your ear, correcting your vertigo.
Your evaluation will help narrow down what problem areas in your body we may need to tackle. Our physical therapist will provide you with strengthening exercises designed to build up muscles, therefore reducing your risk of injury and making it easier for you to move around.
Don’t let balance or gait disorders keep you off your feet, contact us today at Good Hands Physical Therapy to schedule an appointment with one of our committed and talented physical therapists. We’ll help you feel steady on your feet in no time!