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  • Writer's picture Stewart Hamblin

How to get rid of your waddle!

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

An issue that often troubles a person who has had a hip or knee replacement surgery is that they discover that they are still walking or 'waddling' as if they haven't had a new joint at all.

Even though the surgery was a success and the person has faithfully complied with the pre- and post-op exercise regime that they were told to follow their walking is still compromised, putting them at continuing risk of falls and of wear and tear in the non-affected joints. They find themselves unable to enjoy the lives that they hoped they were going to lead.

One of the main reasons this happens is that the exercises that are given are intended to help maintain the strength of the muscles that support the site of the replaced joint. They don't in themselves address the person's compensatory gait.

In the UK a patient can be waiting months, if not years before they can have the surgery and this means that they have spent a lot of time and energy developing a walk that avoids bearing weight into the affected joint. The back is held as stiff as a rod, the head swings in an arc from side to side and the pelvis is unable to transmit power from the legs to the spine and vice versa. They have lost the skill of transferring weight from one leg to another in such a way that the spine acts as a suspension system rather than a pneumatic drill.

So how do you help someone with a persistent waddle to get rid of it? By bringing their attention to how they are currently moving and offering them better choices. By bringing their attention to the 'how' not the 'what'. That's the essence of the Feldenkrais Method® and the Fit Si®t program which I created to help people re-learn the skill of weight transference with organisation so that gravity becomes their friend rather than their enemy.

Over the summer, I made a video course explaining how a person can learn to undo their waddle. Read how 81 year-young Rod Hunt has already been helped by the course:

"Thank you, Stewart. After 3 hip replacements (the second one did not go well) I have been walking like a Penguin for some while and struggle to go any significant distance particularly uphill. Your 3 videos on de-waddling certainly struck home and I now intend to concentrate on the weight transference and henceforth look more like a gazelle in my future walks. Cheers." Rod Hunt, 81.


24th August 2021

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