Summer feels like one beautiful, unending afternoon of baseball games, trips to the beach, and nature hikes. Tackling those grassy fields, sandy shores, and bumpy paths, however, requires heightened levels of balance that puts a lower-body prosthetic to the test. Enhance your balance to tackle any uneven terrain with these moves:
1. Side-to-Side Balance: Stand between two chairs with a hand placed on each of the backs. With feet spaced four inches apart, shift your weight from one foot to the other. Focus on the feeling of the muscles within and immediately surrounding the socket to gain clarity of movement.
2. Forward-Backward Balance: Like the side-to-side move, stand with hands placed on the tops of two chairs for balance as you shift weight from your toes to the balls of your feet. Take note of your upper body, gauging the angle of your torso that leads your body to start tipping and gently return to starting position to stabilize.
3. Side Stepping: Using a counter top or other long, sturdy surface, face the support and place your hands on it for added balance. Slowly, start taking sidesteps towards the unaffected side with a focus on keeping hips even with one another. Take special are that you’re not leaning too far over your prosthetic limb as you bring the unaffected limb to meet it.
4. Ball Rolling: With a solid surface as a support, place a tennis ball on the ground in front of you. Lift your unaffected foot on top of the ball, and roll it back and forth and side to side, weaving it in circles in all directions. Your prosthetic side will practice balance as it navigates weight shifting in irregular patterns.
5. Braiding: Begin in a natural standing position, feet shoulder-width apart. Cross your prosthetic limb in front of your body with foot in line with the unaffected limb behind it, then bring your unaffected limb beside it again in the natural standing position. Repeat, beginning this time with the unaffected limb. Make your way across a room with this pattern, using your arms and core muscles to rotate and balance.
Our team at Bulow Orthotic & Prosthetic Solutions wants you to squeeze the most out of summer fun and will help train you to take all of it in well-balanced stride. For questions about other gait-training movements, give us a call today.