Movement patterns can be broken down into small chunks and then put back together 🧩
A fancy name for walking is gait which refers to the pattern in which a person walks
A gait cycle initiates when a limb comes into contact with the ground (heel-strike) and includes the stance and swing phases until that same limb comes back into contact with the ground (deceleration). Gait cycles are repeated in a reciprocal pattern to create propulsion of the centre of mass in the desired direction of motion, creating what we know as locomotion or walking.
To achieve a safe and effective form of locomotion we must first build trunk strength through the ability to roll. We then learn to balance in a seated posture and also in a standing position with our lower limbs supporting our body weight. We also need to learn to crawl before we walk to develop reciprocal movement.
After sustaining a spinal cord injury the body's ability to perform some OR many of these above movements are inhibited, and consequentially trained in a rehabilitation setting. One of the goals of rehab is to generate some kind of neurological or functional recovery in some of these tasks. Whilst not everyone is going to regain walking function improvements in some of the other developmental movement patterns might be possible.
Crawling is a reciprocal task, challenging multiple trunk and pelvic movements with lower limb flexion and extension to move the body through space. Although this isn't a task that our clients find themselves doing in everyday life, the physical benefits gained through crawling can transfer to improving an individual's ability to complete daily tasks.
Our girl April went from needing full assistance while crawling to then performing it independently in approximately 18 months. You can watch her progression in our video here. The trunk and pelvic control she has developed through crawling and her other training, has transferred to her KAFO standing, and she is also now killing it making a cuppa in her KAFOs.
18 months might sound like a long time, but we're pretty cool, you could probably put up with us for that long!