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Watch Your Walk - The Galveston County Daily News : Galveston

October 30, 2014

Watch Your Walk

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 12:00 am

Believe it or not, the way you walk determines the way the rest of your body moves. It can cause knee, hip or low back pain. These complications combined over long periods may cause discomfort, uneven wear and tear and pain to your joints.

Just like a mechanic can determine what’s wrong with your car by simply listening to it, a doctor trained in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation can easily identify deficiencies by analyzing your gait.

Gait Analysis is serious business. Expensive video cameras are used to record athletes walking and running on a treadmill to determine their gait pattern — how they walk or run.

On the Average Joe level, there are some do-it-yourself tests you can perform to better understand your gait.

To determine how you walk, grab a pair of old shoes. If the outer portions of the sole are more worn than other regions it suggests you walk on the outside of your feet, called over pronation. Normally, people who do this have high arches and their ankle joints tend to bow out. On the other end of the spectrum, those that walk on the insides of the feet tend to have low arches and ankles that turn inward, called over supination.

You can determine the type of arch you have by performing a Wet Test, which can easily be done at home. After wetting the bottom of your foot in a shallow tray, step down onto a paper bag. Stand comfortably with feet shoulder-width apart. Compare the pattern to this image:

The problem can be fixed by getting regular adjustments, which help your body stay aligned. Adjustments help you remain balanced. Slight variations in weight bearing can cause a clear shift in your body. Over time, the muscles that keep you upright become very tight, which increases the chances of injury and pain down the line. 

Over pronation and supination can be corrected with rehabilitation as well. Under the lead of an experienced Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation professional, you can learn to use your body the way it’s meant to be used. 

I also use therapeutic taping as a tool. Therapeutic taping has been around for a long time, but has become more popular with the high visibility of Olympic athletes, who can be seen wearing colorful tape while competing. It isn’t just an expression of team spirit, the tape serves a purpose. It functions like a brace and is waterproof. Therapeutic taping lasts for about a week and needs to be done by a trained practitioner, because it’s quite technical.

Island Health Center has been providing care to the community for over 25 years. Over the years, they have treated many Galvestonians, and have become a mainstay in the island’s medical community. They offer a variety of services from medical to chiropractic, occupational medicine, medical weight loss and more.

Island Health Center is located just off the Seawall at 4623 Fort Crockett Blvd., between Goodwill and Academy. For more information call 409-762-7646, email islandhealthcenter@sbcglobal.net, or visit their website at IslandHealthCenter.net.