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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

Partial weight bearing gait therapy

Partial weight bearing gait therapy

Partial Weight Bearing (PWB) gait therapy, also called Body Weight Supported (BWS) gait therapy, is a method of supporting the body to facilitate walking.

It is a particularly effective rehabilitation technique for those who have experienced the following conditions:

  • stroke
  • brain injury
  • spinal cord injury
  • Parkinson's disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • adult cerebral palsy

PWB gait therapy enables the therapist to assist the patient in regaining the ability to walk by:

A doctor's referral is required to participate in this program.

Your physician can make a referral by phone at
or fax at 612-262-7860.

  • reducing weight-bearing loads
  • providing a safe environment free from falls
  • supporting optimal upright posture
  • beginning gait training much earlier in the rehabilitation process
  • beginning gait training at a lower level of ability
  • allowing correction of improper walking patterns.

Benefits of PWB gait therapy

Benefits associated with PWB gait therapy include:


  • improved gait speed
  • improved balance
  • improved efficiency of gait
  • increased ability to walk for longer distances.

To initiate PWB gait therapy, the patient must have a referral from a physician for a physical therapy evaluation. After the referral is made, a qualified physical therapist will perform an evaluation to determine if the patient is an appropriate candidate for PWB gait therapy.

If the patient is a candidate for this therapy, he/she will be assessed on the PWB system and monitored closely for any adverse reactions. A therapist will then work with the patient to establish an appropriate treatment plan.

Source: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Brian LeLoup, rehabilitation services manager, inpatient rehabilitation therapies, Abbott Northwestern Hospital
First Published: 03/22/2011
Last Reviewed: 09/07/2011