How to Identify Gait Abnormalities

Walking seems easy enough. After all, most people have been doing it since they were a year or two old. But the way you walk reveals a lot about you and any underlying disease or musculoskeletal injuries and irregularities you may have.

Walking requires you to pull together strength, coordination, and sensation. Your neurological and musculoskeletal sessions must work in a perfect marriage to create a healthy, efficient gait.

Gait abnormalities are common. Older adults are at particular risk, but anyone at any age can have misalignments in the way they walk. At the Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, our team of professionals uses their training and vast experience to observe your gait and determine potential weaknesses. 

With such evaluation, you can get a diagnosis and effective treatment plan to help you walk with ease and alignment so you avoid the potential discomfort gait dysfunction can cause.

What causes an irregular gait?

You may have an irregularity in the way you walk due to illness, genetic factors, injury, or abnormalities in the structure of your legs, feet, or hips. Aging can lead to dysfunction in gait. Cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease are illnesses that may affect your gait.

Injury doesn’t always mean acute trauma, such as a fall, either. You can incur injury over time, such as with repetitive movement patterns.

Gait abnormalities can clear up on their own, especially if they’re due to an acute injury.

What do I look for?

When evaluating your or another’s gait, observe the way in which a person walks. Some easily observable signs that a gait is abnormal include:

How do you address an abnormal gait?

If you observe or feel an abnormal gait, come to our office for an official diagnosis. We can then help you correct your gait to improve your condition and alleviate any compensatory pain. Physical therapy can help you improve gait and reduce the related symptoms. 

In some cases, you might need surgery to correct gait dysfunction. We may not be able to completely normalize an abnormal gait, but usually treatment alleviates discomfort and prevents further compromised motion. 

Some cases are easy to treat while others may stay with you for your lifetime. If you do have an irregular gait that needs support, we provide canes, braces, and customized orthotics fabricated by our orthotist we also make 3-D printed custom made orthotic devices (GO-4D).

If you have an underlying condition causing your gait dysfunction, treatment of that condition should correct your gait. For example, if you have tendinitis or a broken bone in a foot causing a limp, when the tissue has healed, so should the way you walk.

If you have a gait pattern that causes you concern and referred pain or if you observe an abnormality in a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact our office in Manhattan or White Plains, New York. At the Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine, we provide a variety of therapies to help you overcome gait abnormalities and resume a high quality of life. Call one of our offices or schedule an appointment online to find out more. 

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