Gait training exercises help new amputees regain mobility and improve balance, thereby reducing the risk of falls. It also helps long-time prosthetic users and those who have received a new prosthetic limb create a smoother walking experience.
Gait training will help the majority of lower-limb amputees to improve their walking. If you have a higher level limb loss--a short above-knee residual limb--you should consider gait training with your physical therapist.
What to expect when gait training at home?
Before starting any at-home gait training program, it’s essential to inform your physician and get their approval. You don’t need to compromise your safety.
Once your physician gives you the green light, you may perform the exercises outlined below. Depending on your physical condition and needs, you may perform the following exercises with or without a physical therapist and with or without minimal supervision from family members or friends.
Gait training exercises
These gait training moves are designed to help strengthen your muscles, develop muscle memory that allows you to regain mobility, and improve posture.
These activities can include: walking over objects, standing and sitting, raising your legs, and walking on a treadmill.
Lie on your back with your knees bent towards your chest.
- Hold this pose for a few seconds and switch to the other leg. This exercise works your core to help improve your stability. If you wear an above-knee prosthesis with a prosthetic knee that has an optional lock or ability to set it to "bicycle mode", do so for this exercise.
One-Leg Standing Balance
Stand on one leg. If you find it challenging to hold your balance, you may hold on to a desk or wall for stability.
Hold this position for five to 10 seconds.
- Switch legs. Do this for 10 repetitions.
Image courtesy of ProstheticRunning.com
Seated Leg Lifts
While seated, lift your right leg towards your chest.
Repeat the same motion with your left leg. Imagine marching in place.
- Alternate between both legs for up to 10 repetitions.