2 or 3-step walking rhythm

When clinically analyzing a person's gait, there are many characteristics to observe. Among these, the number of beats involved in the walking cycle is a very easy element to objectify. This observation also provides a wealth of information on walking ability.


Clinical gait analysis: Understanding the nuances of the gait cycle

When clinically analyzing a person’s gait, there are several features that merit attention. Among these, the number of beats (gait rhythm) that make up the gait cycle emerges as a key element that is easy to objectify, offering crucial information on walking ability. The walk can be in 2 or 3 beats.

2-Step Walking: The Rhythm of Health

The walking rhythm of a healthy person on even ground is commonly referred to as “two-step”. This cycle involves a right-foot support time followed by a left-foot support time. During observation, the movement unfolds harmoniously, following a regular sequence of “right – left – right – left” or “1-2-1-2”. The time interval between 1-2 and 2-1 remains constant.

Walk with crutch

Even with the addition of a crutch, a healthy person maintains synchronization between the movement of the crutch and that of the opposite leg. The rhythmic sequence persists, and the interval between 1-2 and 2-1 remains unchanged. The use of a crutch does not affect walking speed or fluidity.

People with Hemiplegia: The Challenge of Motor Disorders

For a person with significant motor disorders, particularly at the start of rehabilitation, walking may spontaneously evolve towards the “3-step gait rhythm” model. This cycle involves one beat for moving the cane, a second beat for moving one foot, and a third beat for moving the other foot. The sequence becomes “cane – left foot – right foot – cane – left foot – right foot” (for a cane held in the right hand), or “1-2-3-1-2-3”. The time spent double-standing on both feet is significantly prolonged, reflecting balance difficulties.

Adaptations in Delicate Situations: The 3-Step Walk for Safety

It’s interesting to note that even a healthy person, in tricky situations such as in the mountains, can adopt the three-step walk to ensure safety.

Wheeleo®: Redefining Walking for Early Rehabilitation

To facilitate early and spontaneous two-step walking, the use of a Wheeleo® may be a good idea. The Wheeleo®, with its constant support on the ground, offers additional support throughout the gait cycle, making walking more fluid, stable, rapid and comfortable. When observing a person who usually walks in three steps with a conventional cane, the sequence may spontaneously evolve into 2-step walking.

By adopting the Wheeleo®, patients respect their need to have two feet on the ground at all times, while regaining a more normal gait.

Comparative: Adapting the walking pace to the situation

In conclusion, observation of the gait cycle provides valuable information on locomotor skills. Understanding the nuances between two-step and three-step gait rhythms enables us to adapt our interventions, facilitating rehabilitation and the maintenance of motor independence.

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