Joan came to me because of knee pain. She had surgery on her left knee ten years ago. Since then, the knee had gotten more and more stiff. Walking and going up and down stairs were difficult. She wanted to find an alternative to having a knee replacement. Joan described the situation this way:
“I was walking like an old obese woman. I called it the wobble walk. My younger family members kept commenting on my funny walk and asking me if something was wrong. That wasn’t something I wanted to prolong!”
When I first met Joan, her head and torso shifted left and right with each step. Her upper body was stiff, both legs were stiff (though the left was more so), and there was a lot of wasted energy as she tried to compensate for her inability to support herself on the left side.
The focus of our work together was teaching Joan to walk in a new way. We broke the process of walking into simple phases and explored each, e.g. how the back legs could drive the body up and onto the front leg (versus the more common approach of falling onto the front leg). We reduced the stiffness in her ankles and knees. We explored how she could engage her glut muscles and better use her skeleton to improve her balance.
Joan described our work together:
“After the first time there was already a change in the way I walked. I showed my co-workers and they could see it. I was walking more like a normal person. But now I’ve gone so much further than that. I am amazed. I can now walk good long distances and not be in pain and not wobble. In fact, just last week, one of my co-workers came up to me and told me I looked ‘elegant’ as I was walking across the room.”
After only ten sessions, Joan went from “wobble” to “elegant”!