The way we walk is something we don’t often think about. Yet it is something we do constantly. Often times, we change the way we walk when we have an injury, or a joint replacement. We also change our walk when we are scared of falling. However, there is a specific way we should walk to keep us safe and prevent a fall.
The way walk is called our gait, and we have a gait cycle. This cycle begins when our first foot hits the ground, and ends as the second foot leaves the ground. But what should happen in between?
The initial point of contact of the foot should be the heel. To do this, we must pull our toes up towards our head. By doing this, we prevent the toes from catching our toe and tripping. (Note the position of the right foot in picture opposite)
As you shift your weight forwards, your hip moves over the ankle and the foot is placed flat on the ground. (Note the position of the right foot in the picture opposite)
As your weight is shifting into the foot on the ground, the other foot leaves the ground. You are now balancing on one leg for a brief period of time. (Note position of the left foot in the picture opposite)
Following balancing on one leg, you now begin to raise the foot. You do this by shifting weight forwards into the toes, causing the heel to leave the ground. (Note position of the left foot in the picture opposite)
As you continue to shift your weight forwards, your toe will be the last point of contact with the ground. Once the toe leaves the ground, the other leg will now be supporting the full weight of the body. (Note position of the right foot in the picture opposite)
During mid-swing, you are now balancing on your other leg, as your stepping leg moves forward in preparation for hitting the ground again. (Note position of the left foot in the picture opposite)
The foot continues to move forwards towards the ground, and is the last phase of the swing cycle. As soon as the heel hits the ground, you have returned to step one of the cycle with heel strike. (Note position of the right foot in the picture opposite)