Tommy, an inquisitive 3-year-old from Immingham, Humberside has recently started using R82’s Mustang gait trainer that allows proper positioning and support for children while they learn the skills of stepping and walking.
Tommy lives with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex which has caused the growth of benign tumours, particularly in his brain and affects movement and abilities. Tommy has high tone in his lower legs and requires a lot of support to facilitate walking and to progress developmentally.
Tommy recently started attending Humberston Park Special School, Grimsby, where Frances George, Specialist Physiotherapist, MSc, BSc, HPC, MCSP has introduced “walking and stepping” focus groups to assess the walking patterns of children with different abilities.
Frances explains: “To encourage a child to walk, it is important to understand the 3 gait phases of a normal walking pattern – the heel strike, stance phase and toe off which happen reciprocally. If a child makes a heel strike with the right foot, then a stance phase will be happening on the left – creating stability and placing the hip and knee in a neutral position. A step forward into toe off extends the hip and knee before allowing the knee to flex and the leg to swing through. This is then followed by the knee extending and the foot dorsi-flexing to create a heel strike. During this process, weight is transferred from the back to the front foot which creates sway or a “lateral shift”. This entire process allows propulsion forwards and is the walking pattern we want to achieve when we place a child in a walker.” Read more……