Did you know balance training is done in physical therapy? Sometimes our focus in physical therapy is returning patients back to sports. Sometimes it is helping patients return to walking without fear of falling. Both of these patients will benefit from the same physical therapy approach– an approach focused on return of optimal function for that patient.
Here at Change Sports Physical Therapy we focus on returning patients back to their optimal functional level. One great addition to our clinic has been the Hydroworx EVO Underwater Treadmill.
Balance Training in Water
At the time of this writing, it has been 1.5 years since we got this underwater treadmill in the clinic. I really do love a lot of the benefits this machine gives patients. One of my favorite uses is for patients who are struggling with balance and walking.
Returning to walking after an injury can be a very difficult process. If the injury was from a fall, this process can also be a fearful one. Walking on an underwater treadmill is an amazing way to safely and comfortably work through this phase of rehabilitation. Not to mention is a pretty fun and unique way to work on balance and fall prevention.
Benefits of Balance Training in Underwater Treadmill
There are a lot of benefits of using an underwater treadmill for patients who are working on balance training for fall prevention.
- The fear of falling is removed from the equation. When the patient walks in water, they do not need to fear falling anymore. They can easily hold on to the sides of the unit, and as we progress to not holding on, they will not be able to fall and injure themselves in water.
- Easy to walk in. Unlike getting in a pool for regular aquatic therapy, getting into the underwater treadmill is easy. Simply walk in by taking a small step in.
- Weight bearing is reduced. The buoyancy of the water takes the load off the ankles, knees and hips to provide a gentler exercise, walking and balance training while still training the nervous system in those movement patterns.
- Able to do more. The exercise in the water allows patients to go through motions, like squats and lunges, which they would not otherwise be able to do on land. This allows us to introduce more exercises to perform safely.
- It is just fun. Walking on an underwater treadmill in warm water is not something people do everyday. It is a fun experience which keeps the sessions interesting.
Balance training for fall prevention is a covered service under Medicare.
If you have a loved one who is struggling to safely walk, they might benefit from some sessions of physical therapy with a focus on fall prevention.