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Treadmill Gait Training

Jan 24th, 2019 | by Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC

Lisa Murphy OTD, OTR/L, SWC

January 24th, 2019

Treadmill Gait Training

Research has shown that treadmill training has the potential to positively impact gait – or the way a child walks – in children with neurological and developmental diagnoses such as cerebral palsy1 and Down syndrome2.  In particular, body weight support treadmill training is a common technique utilized in physical therapy to assist a patient in learning to walk or improve upon their current gait difficulties.

Treadmill Gait Training at NAPA

Treadmill training offers a way for an individual with a disability to gain walking practice in an effort to improve their walking skills. NAPA Center incorporates treadmill training into both its intensive therapy program as well as its traditional treatments using the SpiderCage, a body weight support system.  The SpiderCage is three-sided wire device that uses harnesses and bungee cords to lessen gravitational effects, all in an effort to enable a child to perform balance, strengthening, and functional tasks with proper positioning and alignment.

How Does Treadmill Gait Training Work?

During treadmill gait training, the support afforded by the SpiderCage allows a physical therapist to focus his/her handling on correcting and facilitating proper walking patterns in the child. Examples of help a physical therapist may offer include assisting a child swing his leg during stepping or facilitating decreased scissoring with stepping.  As the child builds strength and increases coordination, the support offered by the SpiderCage is lessened until the child is able to execute the task independently.

With such promising scientific results lending support to the practice of treadmill gait training, be sure to ask your physical therapist about it at your next visit.

Additional Resources:

About NAPA Center

At NAPA Center, we take an individualized approach to therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs our services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

For Further Reading:
  1. Cherng R-J, Liu C-F, Lau T-W, Hong R-B. (2007). Effect of treadmill training with body weight support on gait and gross motor function in children with spastic cerebral palsy. American Journal Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, 86, 548–555.
  2. Ulrich, D.A., Ulrich, B.D,, Angulo-Kinzler, R.M., Yun, j. (2001). Treadmill Training of Infants With Down Syndrome: Evidence-Based Developmental Outcomes. Pediatrics, 84, 108.
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