Gait abnormalities are changes to a normal walking pattern caused by injuries or pathologies of the spinal cord, brain, legs, or feet.
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The term gait refers to the movement you make when walking or running. Walking, which is a complex series of movements, requires the cooperation of your brain, bones, and muscles, as well as the assistance of your heart and lungs. Then, if any of those systems malfunction, it may impair your ability to walk. This is referred to as a gait abnormality.
Gait Abnormalities Defined
Gait abnormalities are changes in one’s walking pattern caused by injuries or pathologies of the spinal cord, brain, legs, or feet. For instance, they can affect your walking speed and cause issues with consistency, symmetry, or unsynchronized movements. Also, a gait occurs as a result of a repetitive cycle in which various structures of the central and peripheral nervous systems are involved. In addition, neurological diseases or musculoskeletal factors that affect gait and balance can disrupt this cycle.
A person may have difficulty walking due to an acute problem, such as a bruise, cut, or fracture. These may cause them to limp or walk differently, but they are not considered abnormal gait causes. However, there are several diseases that can attack the nervous system and cause abnormal gait. The following are some of the most common causes of abnormal gait:
- Amputation of the legs or feet.
- Soft tissue infections in the legs.
- Fractured bones in the feet and legs.
- Birth flaws.
- Infections of the middle ear.
- CP (cerebral palsy).
- Conversion disorder or other mental illnesses.
- Shin splints.
Gait Abnormality Treatment
Medication and physical therapy may be used as treatments. If you have any of the following conditions, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you with your unsteady gait:
- Orthostatic Hypertension (OH).
- Parkinson’s disease (PD).
- Rhythmic Issues
- Lack of vitamin B-12.
Some conditions may necessitate surgery to correct the underlying cause of unsteady gait. It included spinal disorders including lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical stenosis. Hearing aids for hearing problems, canes or walkers to help with walking, and vision correction with glasses or a new prescription for glasses are all possible treatments. If an underlying condition is causing an abnormal gait, the person’s walking should improve once the condition is treated. This is usually the case with broken bones, which can be treated with a cast. Other injuries may necessitate surgery or physical therapy to restore normal gait. Long-term cases of abnormal gait are likely to be treated with assistive devices. These could include:
- Knee braces
- Walking canes
While treatment cannot completely cure an abnormal gait, it can reduce the severity of symptoms in a large number of cases. Only a medical professional can officially treat abnormal gait. A doctor will most likely ask about a person’s medical history and symptoms, as well as observe how they walk. A doctor may also order additional testing to rule out neurological conditions and nerve damage.
Gait Abnormality Physical Therapy
Physical therapists play an important role in assisting people to improve their gait. Your physical therapist will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan that addresses your child’s unique needs and goals. Additionally, your physical therapist will create an individualized treatment plan for your specific condition. Your physical therapist will assist you in retraining your walking style. Variations in training exist because the underlying condition could be vestibular, neurological, or muscular. Your physical therapist will create the most effective and safest training program for your specific condition. Training for Balance and Coordination Your physical therapist may recommend balance exercises to help you stabilize your walking pattern.
Treatment options may include
Pre-Gait Instruction. Without taking a single step, your physical therapist may begin your treatment by having you perform activities and exercises that will help you understand how to improve your gait. These exercises can range from simple activities like standing and lifting your leg in place to more complex strategies like stepping in place and contacting your heel to the ground first, followed by other parts of your foot.
Neuromuscular reeducation techniques may be used by your physical therapist to activate any inactive muscle groups that are affecting an a Gait Abnormality
Splinting or bracing
If your gait dysfunction is caused by significant ligament weakness or paralysis, your physical therapist may teach you how to use adaptive equipment, such as a brace or splint, to help you move.
If an underlying condition is causing an abnormal gait, the person’s walk should improve once the condition is treated. For example, this is especially true for broken bones, which can usually be treated with a cast. Other injuries may necessitate surgery or physical therapy to help restore normal gait. Also, long-term cases of abnormal gait are likely to be treated with assistive devices. These might include:
- Knee braces.
While treatment cannot always completely correct an abnormal gait, it can usually reduce the severity of symptoms.
Gait Abnormality Prevention
Finally, in some cases, a person can do nothing to prevent an abnormal gait caused by genetics or a medical condition. However, people can take precautions to avoid injuries that result in an abnormal gait. Preventative measures include:
- Refraining from participating in contact sports.
- Wearing When engaging in sports, wearing protective gear
- During physical activity, wear well-fitting footwear.
- If necessary, wearing leg braces
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