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Functional Gait Training To Improve Gait Alterations

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Whether you have a current or past injury, neurological condition, or have recently become sedentary since the COVID-19 pandemic, functional gait training can improve your ability to stand and walk. Gait is defined by a person's manner of walking. Functional gait disturbances occur due to overlying disease, conditions, or biomechanical dysfunction.



Our quality of ambulation is dependent on our balance, coordination, strength, joint mobility, and how well our sensory systems are working together. Your functional gait training program will depend on which of these factors are contributing to your gait dysfunction. An example of a gait training protocol due to strength deficit includes a combination of strength training and task-specific activities to normalize your gait pattern. Some exercises may include mobility exercises and lower extremity and core strengthening exercises that may include isometrics, isotonics, eccentrics, and/or concentrics. The type, intensity, and duration of your exercise prescription will vary depending on what your Physical Therapist determines from your gait analysis.


There may be many reasons why we demonstrate alterations in our gait patterns. Some include:

  • Acute Injury or trauma

  • Past Injury or trauma

  • Chronic disease or conditions

  • Joint inflammation

  • Pain

  • Muscular asymmetries

  • Postural misalignment

  • Weakness

  • Proprioception and balance deficiencies

  • Coordination deficiencies

  • Soft Tissue Restrictions

  • Visual disturbances

  • Decreased Neuromuscular connections

  • Vestibular dysfunction

  • External factors such as; the shoes we wear

Although all patient populations can benefit from gait training, some specific conditions that can benefit from gait training include:


  • Orthopedic Post Operative

  • Sports Injury

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Spinal Cord Injury

  • Stoke

  • Neurological Disorders including Parkinson’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, and Multiple Sclerosis

  • Muscular Dystrophy


Your specialized Physical Therapist at F.I.T. PT will determine alterations in your gait pattern by performing your gait analysis. During this analysis, your therapist will study the different parts of your gait cycle, including your swing phase and stance phases. These phases make up a normal ambulation cycle and begin from the time your foot leaves the ground until the next time the same foot leaves the ground again. Some common troublesome gait patterns your clinician may identify include:

  • Spastic Gait

  • Scissor Gait

  • Steppage Gait

  • Waddling Gait

  • Right/Left Sided Loaded Weight-Bearing

  • Ataxic Gait

You were made to move! Schedule your gait analysis at F.I.T. PT today and get back on the road toward living a healthier, longer, and pain-free life.



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