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Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons treating Antalgic Gait

ANTALGIC GAIT

An Antalgic gait is more common in children and the very elderly. This condition in children is frequently the result of minor injuries. that heal on their own.

If your child needs surgery or casting, our Fracture Care Clinic opens every day and you do not need an appointment. Surgery rooms get scheduled every morning, so your child receives the care and attention they need right away.

Antalgic Gait 

Antalgic Gait Antalgic gait is more common in children and the elderly. The condition in children is frequently the result of minor injuries that heal on their own. The prevalence of gait disorders among older adults rises with age. It ranges from 10% among people aged 60-69 to more than 60% among people over 80 living in community settings. One way to observe this condition is to imagine walking with a sharp stone in your shoe. Attempting to avoid the pain causes an uneven gait. If your child hurts when walking with weight on a foot, knee, or hip, your child should avoid putting pressure on the painful area and the parent should schedule an appointment with us.  Another feature of an antalgic gait is that a person’s ankle may remain fixed in one position as they lift and lower their foot.

What Are the Causes of Antalgic Gait?

As you might have guessed from our description of antalgic gait, a variety of factors can cause it. The one thing that all of these sources agree on is that the main cause of this condition is pain and the avoidance of it. Keeping this in mind, the following are some of the most common causes of antalgic gait.

Injury

The most common cause of antalgic gait is injuries to the leg and surrounding areas can easily cause you to walk with an antalgic gait. The injury, which can range from torn leg muscles to a cracked hip, can cause you to walk with a limp.

Anomaly

Leg, joint, foot, and hip deformities can cause significant changes in gait. These defects may have been present at birth or may have developed later as a result of an injury.

Rheumatism

Arthritis, particularly arthritis of the joints, can cause pain due to pressure and weight on the affected joints. If the arthritis pain comes and goes, the antalgic gait may only last a short time.

Infection and inflammation

Inflammation and infection of the leg, hip bones, and joints can cause pain, and therefore, patients should avoid walking to deter inflammation.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What is an Antalgic Gait?

An antalgic gait refers to a type of walking pattern that an individual adopts to minimize pain while walking. It is characterized by a shortened stance phase on the affected leg, resulting in an uneven gait. People with an antalgic gait often lean or shift their weight away from the painful leg to reduce the time spent bearing weight on it.

What causes Antalgic Gait?

An antalgic gait is typically caused by pain or discomfort in one leg or foot. Common underlying conditions include injuries, such as sprains, strains, or fractures, as well as joint problems like osteoarthritis or inflammatory conditions like bursitis. The body’s natural response to pain minimizes pressure on the affected area, leading to the altered walking pattern seen in an antalgic gait.

Is Antalgic Gait a serious medical condition?

 An antalgic gait appears as a temporary response to pain and a method for the body to protect an injured or painful area. While it may not always indicate a serious issue, the underlying issue needs addressing to prevent further complications. Ignoring the pain or the altered gait pattern may lead to muscle imbalances, joint misalignment, and prolonged discomfort. Seeking medical attention to diagnose and treat the root cause of the antalgic gait remains crucial for proper recovery and to restore normal walking mechanics.

Schedule an Appoint at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists if your child has an unusual gait

Tumors

Tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous, can grow in places that affect leg and/or foot movement, resulting in antalgic gait. This condition can also stem from muscle strains, ankle and knee sprains, and other minor injuries. None of these causes are particularly pleasant, and they all have an impact on walking and possibly daily life.

Antalgic Gait Symptoms

Antalgic gait is characterized by pain. The type of pain may differ depending on the cause, which could be an injury, infection, inflammation, a vascular problem, or a bone tumor. The altered gait is an impulsive attempt to reduce the pain caused by the affected muscles, bones, nerves, or joint abnormalities. There are many different types of gait disorders, but the antalgic gait is distinct. When you walk, you have a shorter “stance phase” and a longer “swing phase.” Doctors can often detect it by a child simply walking across the room.

What Are the Treatments for Antalgic Gait?

Antalgic gait treatment typically begins with identifying the source of pain and then treating the source of pain that is causing the antalgic gait. In most cases, once the underlying cause, such as trauma or injury, is treated, the gait quickly returns to normal. Furthermore, the doctor may recommend the following to alleviate pain and normalize gait as much as possible:

Devices

The use of a cane, crutches, or other types of devices, particularly in cases of stress fractures or other types of traumas or injuries.

Medicine

  1. NSAIDs- These medications are used to treat inflammation.
  2. Opioids are drugs that are prescribed to treat chronic, intractable pain.
  3. Muscle Relaxant- Treatment for muscular discomfort and spasms using a muscle relaxant.

Exercises

Gait and balance exercises can be done while swimming or riding.

Physical Therapy (PT)

  1. Aids in increasing joint mobility.
  2. Aids in the improvement of muscle tone and coordination.

Specific Treatment

  1. Calcium and Vitamin D for Antalgic Gait Caused by Rickets
  2. Calcium, vitamin D, and estrogen hormone for osteoporosis.
  3. NSAIDs for osteoarthritis.
  4. Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  5. Sulfasalazine or Azulfidine for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  6. Antibiotics for Infections

Surgery

  • Joint surgery for dislocation, subluxation, and arthritis
  • Bone Repair- For fractured bones.
  • Tumor excision.
  • Tendon Reconstruction.
  • Muscle Tear Reparation.

Conclusion

Finally, Antalgic gait is a limp that develops in response to pain, often in the foot, knee, or hip. It is the most common type of limp people can have. Causes of antalgic gait range from minor injuries that heal on their own to painful infections and tumors in the bone or soft tissue that need specialist treatment. The Pediatric Orthopedic Doctors at Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists, with offices conveniently located in ArlingtonDallasFrisco, and McKinney, Texas treat kids with Antalgic gait by diagnosing the cause and treating the child to a speedy recovery.

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Footnote:

WebMD:  What is Antalgic Gait

 

Call 214-556-0590 to make an appointment.

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