Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of spinal cord injury (SCI). After an SCI, you may have difficulty with mobility and walking. For some patients, there is hope to regain some mobility. According to Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, if you have an incomplete spinal cord injury, you have a better chance of regaining the ability to walk.
Patients with incomplete and complete spinal cord injuries may have gait training as part of their physical therapy.
Purpose of gait training
SCIs damage your nerve cells. The damage makes it difficult for the brain’s signals to reach the muscles. It can also cause the muscles to jump when the signals reach them. SCIs may lead to spasticity and weakness in your limbs, hips and trunk. Gait training allows you to practice walking with mobility aids or braces.
Types of gait training
Before you begin gait training, your physical therapist may have you work on balance as a pre-gait activity. Sometimes you need to gain more strength before you can start training.
Early gait training involves taking your first steps using assistive equipment. Some assistive equipment options include parallel bars, body-weight supporting devices or the buoyancy of a pool. As you progress in gait training, your therapist may work with you to walk without support devices. Instead, you may have a special walker, crutches or canes to help you keep your balance and walk safely.
For some patients, the overall goal of gait training allows them to walk without the use of assistive devices. However, some patients may require different devices throughout their lives.
Spinal cord injuries can have a devastating effect on the life of you or a loved one. An experienced personal injury attorney can not only help an accident victim receive compensation for their injury but can also help them get the necessary medical treatment.