Would walking in water or cycling be the most efficient exercise for someone suffering from gait abnormalities? Would you began with water and work your way up to the cycling? Could you please give me some exercises for the water therapy?
Because of the WIDE ARRAY of problems we may be dealing with here, I'm going to keep this answer simple and basic, as human movement is perhaps the most complex topic to nail down, due to fact that we're really dealing with many sciences that make movement happen (i.e., functional anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, nutrition, psychology, etc.).
I don't want to ASSUME what you mean by "gait abnormalities," but for the sake of this discussion, I will simply assume we're talking about serious movement dysfunction.
My best advice is this:
- REFER OUT. I would recommend referring out to at least two different specialists: a) A sports/fitness medical professional OR physical therapist familiar with HOLISTIC/KINETIC CHAIN CONCEPTS. b) Find a naturopathic nutritionist familiar with metabolic typing & diet, as there is growing research to support the idea that poor nutrition for your metabolic type can cause SERIOUS musculoskeletal dysfunction(s).
- Learn how to conduct at least a basic kinetic chain assessment. There are many articles on PTontheNET.com that can introduce you to these concepts and hopefully spark your interest to dig deeper into the research (see "related articles" at right).
- Once your client is "cleared" for exercise, begin with your assessment and proceed onto a corrective flexibility and core stability protocol.
- Maintain CLOSE contact with your specialist(s) above.
Regarding water exercises or cycling, there are no magic solutions in any single medium. They may play a role in the future progressions, but for now, stick with the basics.