Gait and Health...Are you walking right?

Normal Gait Is Essential
If your feet function as they are
designed to the nerve endings in the
joints and soft tissues (muscles,
ligaments, tendons, connective
tissues, and skin) send information to
your central nervous system so that
your brain knows that it is standing or
walking. When you meet these
criteria you have a natural and
function gait. !
This extremely complex neurological
process is essential for organization
of muscle tone and coordination
throughout your body. It is also
essential for neurological organization
of your nervous system as a whole
and Dr. Walther considered gait
dysfunction to be the second most
common cause of neurological
disorganization. !
Normally Walking Is Therapy
If all of the nerve endings of your foot
and ankle send the correct
information concerning position,
movement, and pressure to your
nervous system, your brain will then
“know what to tell each muscle in
your body to do” in order for your
posture and movement to be fluid,
harmonious, and stress free (barring
problems that cause local pain and
dysfunction; i.e. a local shoulder,
neck, hip problem, etc.). !
So, yes, if you have healthy function
of your feet and ankles you will tend
to feel better when you walk. You will
experience the harmonious patterns
of muscles alternately contracting and
relaxing relative to the demands
of normal walking gait and you will
feel better.
Walking, when it works right, is one of
the most therapeutic things you can
do for the joints and muscles of your
body. When your gait related muscle
patterns work as they should, walking
is naturally therapeutic. But, when
your gait is not coordinated, when it is
neurologically disorganized, it can
cause stress throughout your body. !
How To Find Gait Imbalances
It is common for doctors practicing
applied kinesiology to find that a
patients’ chronic pain (for example,
neck, shoulder, hip, or knee pain)
that has responded poorly to care,
often by multiple doctors, is being
caused by a hidden foot or ankle
problem that is resulting in gait
dysfunction and neurological
organization. !
It can be readily determined if gait is
causing some chronic pain by testing
a muscle that is in the area of the
pain and involved with the pain
pattern. Often the muscle will test
strong initially, but become weak,
often exceptionally weak, after
walking, Often, testing for
neurological disorganization will only
be positive immediately after walking. !
Gait function can readily be tested by
the doctor familiar with applied
kinesiology. There normally is a very
predictable pattern to which muscles
are turned on (facilitated) or turned off
(inhibited) associated with the
position of your body during each
phase of gait. An example here
would be when your right foot is
forward during walking it is normal for
the muscles that bring your left arm to
be strong (facilitated) and the
muscles that bring your left arm
backward to be weak (inhibited). !
This normal pattern of muscles
alternately relaxing and contracting is
exactly as it should be. When your
doctor tests you with applied
kinesiology and does not find this
normal pattern, the most common
problem is some problem that will be
found in a foot or ankle. !
What’s fascinating about gait testing
with applied kinesiology is how
specific the correction will be;
typically, the precise area of the foot
requiring correction will be indicated
by the specific gait imbalance found
from applied kinesiology testing. !
How To Fix Gait
Adjusting the joints of the foot and
ankle restores normal motion and,
thereby, sensory information
(proprioception) to the nervous
system. Soft tissue therapies may be
needed as well to normalize
proprioception. These things change
the gait pattern to normal
immediately! !
Massaging your feet, rolling your feet
over a foot roller or ball (a golf ball
works well), and exercising the
muscles of the feet and ankles
improves mobility and proprioception.
Your doctor practicing applied
kinesiology can give you direction for
rehabilitation. Now go out an have a
good walk!


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