S RUNNING YOUR NEXT STEP?
Have you regained the ability to walk after your Neurological injury but still find yourself unable to fully participate in life?
Running is a high level but necessary skill for people to be able to participate in everyday life. Even if just for a few steps! What about if you are walking down the street and it starts raining, you need to be able to take a few quick steps to take cover. Or if you are walking across the road and the light goes red, it would help to be able to take a few quick steps to get across. Or what about running around to play with your kids or friends?
Running can be a method for improving fitness and enable participation in sporting and leisure activities, especially for young people. You are also more likely to get back to work if you can run a few steps.
A study on severely head injured patients found that, although 97% walked independently, 38% were unable to jump or run 2 years post injury (Ponsford, Olver & Curren, 1995). Can some of these numbers be put down to unexplored potential in our patients?
A few colleagues and I attended a weekend course in March delivered by Gavin Williams on ‘Retraining running and higher level activities following neurological injury’.
Gavin Williams is a Senior Physiotherapist and NHMRC Research Fellow from the Brain Injury Unit at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne who has done a lot of research and has a lot of experience in retraining high level mobility in neurological populations.
The biomechanics of running are significantly different from walking and it is a skill that needs to be specifically trained, just like playing a guitar. This training involves several milestones that need to be reached before being able to transition between walking and running.
There are myriad deficits that occur in neurological conditions that need to be considered when retraining running. If you have a neurological condition, can walk and want to get more out of your rehab, ask your therapist if they think you have potential to explore the pathway from walking to ‘running’ with them.