Gait disorders

Gait disorders

Gait disorders are abnormalities in walking, typically caused by musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. They can include conditions related to Parkinson’s disease, muscular sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and others such as nerve disease, spinal cord trauma, muscular disease, arthritis, and/or foot problems. Corrective treatments include medical, physical, and surgical options.

Some types and characteristics of abnormal gaits are:

  • Hemiplegic  - flexed arm, leg dragging with partial paralysis, seen in stroke
  • Spastic  - stiff, foot-dragging walk caused by brain lesions, seen in cerebral palsy 
  • Neuropathic or Steppage Gait - foot drop, can result from uncontrolled diabetes
  • Myopathic - waddling gait, as in muscular dystrophy
  • Parkinsonian - rigid, small steps, with drooped head/neck and bent knees
  • Hyperkinetic - irregular, involuntary movements in all extremities, such as in Huntington’s disease
  • Ataxic - staggering movements with a wide gait, seen in cerebellar disease
  • Sensory - stomping gait, an attempt to feel when foot hits ground, due to lack of perception


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