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How to walk better

walking

You may be asking, “isn’t there just one way to walk?”  Not much to think about.  But on the contrary, it’s important HOW you walk for hip, knee, back, and leg pain.  Walking is often the best medicine. Learning to walk properly is a big part of the rehabilitation of knee and hip pain. Here are some simple tips to help you improve your gait (the way you walk), and decrease the strain on your joints:

  1. Try to maintain a tall posture
  2. Focus on taking larger, but natural strides
  3. Avoid sitting for long periods of time
  4. Be aware of how your hips move (dipping = weakness)
  5. Wear supportive shoes
  6. Walk at least 20-30 minutes daily
  7. Seed up walk for exercise (uses different muscles)
  8. Swing arms (helps spine and hip movement)

How physical therapy helps your stride:

Physical therapists are the experts in evaluating alignment of the body and walking patterns. Our well-trained physical therapists have years of medical training to spot deviations in your walking patterns and body alignment, due to compensation and underlying problems. Often the painful area is compensating for poor posture and alignment in other areas. By working on these other problem areas, better walking stride and posture can be restored, allowing your body to function normally and move through a pain free range.

Sitting is pure damage!

Do you sit for long periods at work or at home? Do you find yourself slightly limping when you first start walking? Prolonged sitting actually changes the way that you walk. Areas of your hips, pelvis and spine lose their strength and flexibility. This changes the way your hips and spine move when you walk, increasing the load on your knees. Furthermore, with sitting, your quadriceps muscles weaken, leading to poor tracking of the patella (kneecap). Finally, your knee and hip cartilage health relies on a squeezing pressure from walking. With less walking in the day, the joint fluid does not circulate properly leading to a decrease in lubrication  of the joints.

Prolonged sitting actually changes the way that you walk. Areas of your hips, pelvis and spine lose their strength and flexibility. This changes the way your hips and spine move when you walk, increasing the load on your knees. Your knee and hip cartilage health relies on a squeezing pressure from walking. With less walking in the day, the joint fluid does not circulate properly leading to a decrease in lubrication of the joints.

By walking 30 minutes a day, you can reverse the damage of sitting.  Make it your goal to walk after work or after a movie!  If you want us to review your gait to see if you need to adjust anything, let us know! Great opportunity to take advantage of our Free Assessment!