Many people inquire about the “best exercises” for stroke patients to improve walking. I like to use the term “Drills” when referring to “stroke exercises”. Why? Because “Drills” are what I think of when I think of repetitive movement. Case and point, drills are repetitive activities that athletes do over and over again to become the best they can be at their sport. They do this for hours a day. When do they stop? When the movement becomes automatic. This process is very similar to how you need to think after a stroke, brain injury, or neurologic injury due to an autoimmune condition.
Breaking down the gait cycle
The first step is figuring out why walking is so difficult. It is helpful to think about the gait cycle and what is going on at each phase. By doing this, you can identify a specific movement “abnormality” and work the best “drill” for that movement.
Putting it back together
And of course, neuroplasticity requires mass practice. Mass practice practicing an entire movement from start to finish. In this case it would be to put the whole gait cycle back together. I often refer to this as working with two different lens. It is important to zoom in to a specific movement problem, and work a specific movement. That being said, it is also important to zoom out and put that movement back into the context of a “functional movement”.
Walking Exercises For Stroke Patients
In this video, you will get an in-depth breakdown of the walking cycle with the best drills to perform relative to each area of the cycle.