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Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer: Tips on How to Adjust a Gait Trainer

Jun 17th, 2022 | by Jessica Hernandez, PT, DPT

Jessica Hernandez, PT, DPT

June 17th, 2022


We love using the Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer as one of our main gait training units at NAPA for a couple of reasons. It’s easily adjustable, and no tools are necessary, which makes it very parent-friendly. Also, there are a great number of accessories that you can order with the unit, so you can really customize it to the user’s needs.

How to Set Up the Rifton Pacer Gait Trainer

Something I get asked all the time is: What is the right order to prioritize setting up the gait trainer for the user?

I suggest this sequence:

  • Step 1: Frame
  • Step 2: Pelvic Harness
  • Step 3: Chest Harness

Step 1: Frame

Adjust the level that you need the frame to be at to then allow more optimal positioning of the other two components. My suggestion would be to first eyeball it, shooting for somewhere around naval level as a starting point. Generally speaking, in the human body, the center of mass is around the belly button level. So, that’s a really good start off point.

Step 2: Pelvic Harness

Once you adjust the frame, then adjust the pelvic harness. Now, this is very important because if you don’t get this position right around where the pelvis is when the user is in good standing position, then you’re not going to allow for optimal use of the legs to get the Rifton Pacer going. So, in step number two, you’re going to try to adjust the pelvic harness to be positioned right around where the natural pelvis is going to hit in a good standing position when the user is in the unit.

Step 3: Chest Harness

Thirdly, you’re going to adjust the chest harness. Now, I feel like the tendency to adjust the chest harness is usually too high (hitting up into the axilla or the underarm area) and too loose. So, it’s not good if you do either of the two. Generally speaking, go ahead and shoot for the nipple line as a general ballpark area first. Make sure you adjust it so it’s fairly snug around the user. This allows for good stabilization, which keeps your user in good alignment to initiate the walking pattern.

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