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Spastic gait, a kind of walking that is frequently seen in people with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis, is characterized by one leg being rigid and dragging in a semicircular motion on the side most affected by chronic muscular tension.

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Spastic Gait 

Spastic gait portrays a kind of walking that is frequently seen in people with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. It is characterized by one leg being rigid and dragging in a semicircular motion. Children with this type of gait usually possess weak and unusually rigid legs. Children will walk with their legs held closer together than usual.  They will drag their feet or toes and lack the normal range of motion in their knees and ankles. Doctors recognize that children with Spastic gait appear to have rigidity and bounce in the legs as well as a propensity for circumduction and foot scuffing. In severe cases, the adductor muscles cause the legs to cross. Shoes frequently show an uneven outerwear pattern.

Spastic Gait Defined

Spastic gait is a strange way of walking. It could look like the child is dragging their legs, feet, and toes while trying to hold their legs together. Spastic gait occurs in children with cerebral palsy, but it can also happen to a few other disorders. Leg muscles that become tight yet weak may cause a spastic gait.

Doctors often see one leg being dragged. This is because the muscles are clenched for an extended period of time, particularly on one side. For children afflicted, their lack of flexibility prevents them from properly moving their knees, ankles, or other joints.  This gives the appearance that they are walking stiffly as the stiff leg seems to get pulled along when walking.

What Can Cause Spastic Gait?

A few of the ailments that can cause a spastic gait are the following:

  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)
  • Birth Trauma
  • Brain Abscess
  • Brain Tumor
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Stroke
  • Various neurological illnesses
  • Genetic disorders including Sturge-Weber Syndrome

Spastic Gait caused due to Cerebral Palsy

It happens as a result of injury to the area of the brain that regulates arm and leg motions and muscle tone. Reduced flexibility and increased spasticity or tight muscles are seen. Leg deformities do not exist at birth but instead, develop over time. The spastic gait is caused by muscles that are too tight and hypertonic with a limited range of motion.

Spastic Gait caused due to Multiple Sclerosis

Both flexor and extensor spasticity in this syndrome might alter the gait. Bending of the hips and knees towards the chest might occur by unintentional flexion of the hamstring muscles at the back of the thighs. Legs straighten unintentionally when extended; the tight alignment of the hips and knees, together with the proximity of the legs to one another, gives the stride the rigid aspect of spastic walking.

Traumatic brain injury induced by Spastic Gait

Important nerve centers can get affected by damage to the brain, cerebellum, or brainstem, which can change reflex signals, muscle tone, sensory perceptions, and movements. After a brain injury, an odd posture may occur where the hips and knees are kept straight but the ankles are flexed, which can give the appearance of a spastic walk.

Spastic Gait Treatment

Clinical examination, a detailed history, information on pregnancy and delivery complications, and a record of any accidents, trauma, or other disorders are all used to properly analyze spastic gait. Finding the source of spasticity might be assisted by pertinent research and imaging tests. Doctors consider the following relevant treatment methods to provide help for those with Spastic Gait.

  1. A careful assessment of the potential side effects should take place before using medication to lessen the muscular spasms that are frequently seen in spasticity.
  2. To treat spastic or hyperactive muscles, botulinum toxin (BTA) injections can work.
  3. Surgical options will help in many cases.

Numerous medical professionals advise passive and active activities for those who have this walking anomaly. Passive exercise is when a second person helps a person with a spastic gait with their motions. Exercises are regarded as active if they are carried out independently by the person.

Leg braces can also be used to maintain a person’s appropriate leg and foot posture when he stands and walks. The same functions may be achieved using shoe splints. A walker could be useful for managing this aberrant gait pattern if a person has balance issues when standing or walking.


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