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Toni Talks about PT Today

Walking in Gripper Socks

Published February 28, 2012 1:05 PM by Toni Patt

Last week I had my employee physical. It's always about the same. Each year my vision is a little worse. The manual muscle test isn't much of a challenge. Everything was fine until the doctor asked me to tandem walk. I nearly fell over. There's nothing wrong with my balance. I demonstrate the test at least once a week. I just don't normally do it barefoot.

I never realized how much difference shoes make. I routinely test balance while patients are wearing gripper socks. My patients rarely have shoes. To me the only difference between walking in socks and without socks is how cold the floor is. I realized the difference is bigger than I thought. Maybe I'm putting my patients at an unfair disadvantage by testing them without shoes.

I did much better on the second attempt. Obviously my motor system was able to adapt. Someone with motor/sensory deficits isn't going to adapt that quickly so the test will be valid. What about those individuals who are borderline at baseline? Using the socks instead of shoes might be too much challenge. But if they're that unsteady, a little balance therapy and NMR might not be a bad thing.

Who knew it was such a difference? I make jokes about tripping over my own feet. That time I actually did.


My biggest post stroke issue is balance. I was actually thinking gripper socks sound like a brilliant idea! I hate having my shoes on all the time; it is often cold in my house during the winter and I put on fluffy socks.. and then walk around scooting along the walls and furniture. I need to go sock shopping.

Glad you have a new awareness and also glad you didn't hurt yourself.

Linda February 29, 2012 12:29 AM

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