Abnormal gaits may have been humorously immortalized in Monty Python’s The Department of Silly Walks sketch, but in reality can be a serious issue for many patients. Even subtle issues can, over time, lead to injuries or damage that inhibit mobility. Changes in gait can also be symptomatic of neurological or degenerative diseases. It’s important to see a professional if you have an abnormal gait, to diagnose any underlying causes, treat any damage incurred so far, and to correct the problem if possible.
There are many, many potential causes of abnormal gait. Here are some of the more common ones.
- Arthritis of any variety affecting the lower extremities.
- Dermalogica-type issues, such as ingrown nails, calluses, etc.
- Having legs of different lengths.
- Injury or trauma, i.e. break, sprains, bruising
- Tendonitis – inflammation and/or irritation of tendons
- Myositis – swelling of muscles
Less common–but potentially more serious causes:
- Neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s
- Brain trauma, tumors, abscesses, or other brain damage
- Cerebral Palsy
- Developmental dysplasia of the hip (a condition present at birth)
- Spinal cord injury or infection
- Poisoning (carbon monoxide and manganese, in particular)
This is by no means a comprehensive list–which is why it’s very significant to see a physician if you notice any chance in your gait, or notice consistently that the soles of your shoes wear down in a clearly asymmetric way.
Treatment options obviously vary dramatically based on the cause of the issue. Some of the more common non-invasive treatments include assistive devices or bracing and corrective exercises.
For more information regarding diagnosis and treatment of abnormal gait, please contact us.