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The Mechanics of Walking

Walking involves a coordinated effort of the feet, knees, and hips. The cycle of how a person walks is called the gait. The gait cycle is divided into two phases: the time a foot is on the ground is called the “stance” and makes up 60% of the cycle. The motion of the foot off of the ground is called the swing.

During the stance phase, there are four motions that involve the foot.

  1. heel strikes the ground
  2. entire foot comes in contact with the ground
  3. heel lifts placing weight on the ball of the foot
  4. big toe provides the propulsion for the lift and swing

The swing phase has two characteristics — acceleration into the swing and deceleration into placement of the heel for the next step.

All phases of the gait cycle can be evaluated by a physical therapist or podiatrist to determine if there are problems with the musculoskeletal or neurological systems. Some gait issues are caused by injury, such as a stroke, or by a disease. People with gait problems need plenty of time for walking because their balance is challenged and may benefit from assistive devices like canes and walkers to prevent falls. 

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What to know about bone health
and fracture prevention during COVID-19

  • Remove fall dangers in your home.
  • Stay physically active, and at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Eat for proper nutrition, and take a supplement if needed to get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Stick with your osteoporosis medicines and ask your doctor for extra if you’re unable to go to the pharmacy.
  • If you are due for Reclast, there is little concern about delaying for a few weeks or months.
  • If you take Prolia or Evenity injections, don’t miss your appointment.  Some facilities offer “drive-through” injections. Check with your doctor.
  • Bone density testing can be postponed, if necessary.
  • Speak with your doctor about the possibility of telephone and video visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a page with steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching the virus if you have a chronic illness.

Be well. We are here for you if you have any questions.