WALK THIS WAY
You probably don’t remember your first steps or how you went from crawling to walking. Your parents didn’t hire a coach – you just did it. And over the years, your pattern or style of walking has become distinctly “you.” Have you ever noticed how you can identify a person by the way they walk long before you can recognize their face?
That’s because we all develop habits or compensations for injuries, big or small, that influence the way we walk. Our walk becomes a kind of signature of ours. Though subtle differences develop between walkers, some walking habits are very common. So let’s start with a common habit that creates a myriad of problems – the backward lean.
It might seem like good posture – you
might even be able to hear your mom
telling you to “pull those shoulders back”.
Does this look or feel familiar? Maybe.
Does it look or feel comfortable? You
hardly notice. But shoot, your back and
hips hurt, and you have really tight calves
that no amount of stretching helps.
Leaning back, or having your center of
gravity behind you, changes things. We
know it changes your breathing (see “The
Power of Breath” article).But it also makes
you tuck your bottom, putting your glutes
at a mechanical disadvantage. It’s harder to use your glutes to propel you forward,
even though forward to where you want to go.
Here’s the good news: Just a few adjustments can make big changes in how you walk and how you feel.
Stand in your normal posture and sense into your feet. Where is the weight? If your weight is back on your heels that means your center of gravity is behind you and you probably tend to lean back. Even if
you’ve learned the ski jumper exercise, we found that many folks are hinging from the hips, rather than from the ankles. If you do that, your weight will stay back on your heels. So if you don’t feel
that weight shift onto the balls of your feet, try again, and focus on the ankle movement.
The forward lean: how far is far enough?
If it feels like you are walking into the wind, you have the rig ht idea.
Here’s a test to determine if you’re forward enough. Do the ski jumper exercise. Now drop your chin onto your chest and look down. Do you see any toes down there? Unless you are really slender, you
probably see your stomach or chest, or maybe you
can see all the way down to the tips of your shoes.
What you should see when you’re properly canted
forward are the bows of your shoelaces. Lean
enough to see those bows!
Feel and remember that
position. Assume that
position with every step.
It might feel awkward and
you might feel off balance
at first, so don’t get carried
away. Just practice the forward lean as
you walk for a minute or two, a few times
a day. It will gradually feel more
comfortable, more natural, and you will
feel more powerful and stable.
The forward lean is one part of walking well. But there may b e other
pieces to fine tune. Sure, you didn’t start with a walking coach, but now that you’ve had years to mess up your gait, it might be time to see your PT and learn how to make walking easy and elegant again.
SCHEDULING MADE EASIER
After a month of using our new reminder / wait list system, we have done some tweaking. Here are the specifics:
You should receive a reminder 24
hours before your appointment.
You can receive the reminder in
one of the following formats:
You do not need to confirm your appointment.
If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, call our office to do so.
To change the format in which you receive your reminder, let us know.
You will receive notification if there is an appointment. You have 15 minutes to accept it.
When you accept an appointment one of two things happen: you receive notification you are scheduled.
in rare instances you may be informed the appointment is not available.
If you don’t reply within the 15 minutes, you still have the option to accept the appointment and see if it’s available. Not all appointments get taken-it’s worth a shot.
Remember, self-pay rates are changing August 1st. If you have questions, please call the front desk. Thank you for your loyalty!