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A fast growing number of PTs, OTs, and DCs have already discovered that Exerstrider poles can be an extremely versatile and powerful PT and rehab tool.  Not only are walking poles and often both functionally and psycho-socialy preferrable alternative to canes, walkers and even crutches, but they can be used in gait and posture training, balance and fall-prevention training, lumbar stabilization, joint-unweighting, post joint surgical or replacement (knee, hips and shoulder) rehab and in a myriad of other applications. 

Trading in canes and walkers for walking poles provides a real boost for many! 

While canes and walkers remain the most often prescribed assistive devices for those needing to take weight and stress off of the joints of the hips, knees and feet, as well as for those in need of stability and balance aids, many are discovering that a pair of specially designed walking poles can provide an even more effective assist.

Walking poles were introduced as a year-round means of turning walking into a total body exercise similar in both appearance and benefits to cross-country skiing.  While walking pole users are enthusiastic regardless of age or ability, among the most enthusiastic users may be those who have traded in their canes and walkers for a pair of these sporty looking poles.  Peggy Buchanan, who did a walking pole pilot project at Vista Del Monte retirement community in Santa Barbara, CA says, “People with canes and walkers tend to see themselves as ‘invalids’, but the same people with walking poles more often feel like ‘athletes’”.   For eight weeks, 13 seniors at Vista Del Monte averaging 87 years of age traded in their canes and walkers for Exerstrider walking poles. (To see video of some of the subjects click here.)

Poles are even providing wheel chair users with an alternative means of propelling their chairwhich provides a metabolic psycho-social boost by activating large core, arm, shoulder, chest and back muscles. Poles are also becoming more widely used in rehab following joint replacement surgery, as well as for aiding rehab for those with lower limb prostheses.

To view a "Walking Poles as Versatile Pyhsyical Therapy Tool" Powerpoint - Click Here

Testimonials...

The Exerstrider poles can be used in a myriad of ways to address a number of physical therapy interventions and diagnoses. The poles provide stability and a lower-extremity unloading effect that is beneficial in the later stages of hip, knee and ankle rehabilitation.  Because it engages the core during gait (you can feel the abdominals contacting at heel strike/pole plant and the latissimus dorsi/lumbar paraspinals at toe off/pole push off), it is also advantageous for lumbar rehabilitation.  I especially like to use them with patients who have axial flexion collapse postures (think osteoporosis) as the poles encourage neutral thoracic and head postures. 
I recommend poles to other PTs primarily because of the versatility and simplicity of walking with poles. Using poles can be a valuable too from developing core and lumbar stability, to un-weighting lower extremities, to improving exercise tolerance for patients with claudication, Parkinson’s disease, ataxia and arthritis.  In many cases using poles will also have significant psycho-social advantages over the use of walkers, crutches and canes.  They can even be used by wheelchair users.”
Maurice Dumit, MPT

 “I work with patients with postural problems, back pain, and/or limitation of motion secondary to osteoarthritis of the knees and hips, post-surgical (knee, hip, ankle) and neurologically-impaired patients.  Patients with osteoporosis, back pain and postural problems can benefit in many ways.

  • Walking poles promote a more upright posture and gait and thus will help stimulate more normal weight-bearing forces and muscle contractions on the bones.
  • For people with back pain, the poles help un-weight the back and lower extremities, thus helping relieve back pain.
  • Poles bring a weight-bearing element into the upper extremities.
  • With each pole plant there is a co-contraction of the abdominals and the other core and postural muscles.

Exerstride method Nordic walking offers a more motivational, fun and exciting way for patients to exercise.  Walking, in and of itself, while useful and recommended, can be boring.  Walking with poles adds elements of support, and increased level of workout, and can also help patients with balance problems that would prohibit them from getting the most out of a walking workout. 
I absolutely recommend Nordic walking classes to every PT facility I visit. Therapists can offer classes and this appeals to a lot of patients.  Also, PTs are getting more and more into wellness practices and this helps take patients further into that arena.  Patients seem to enjoy the idea of the fun way to exercise and so it doesn’t seem so much like exercise.  More patients that I had ever thought possible have responded well to the use of the poles.”
Sara Meeks, PT, MS, GCS

“Our surgeons are excited about the upright posture that the Activator poles achieve with our patients recovering from spinal surgery.  The poles facilitate the biomechanics of a normal gait pattern and at the same time strengthen core muscles.”
– Hilary Jebson PT, Acute Spine Program at Vancouver General Hospital