What an Abnormal Gait May Mean

 What an Abnormal Gait May Mean

Each time we take a step, we may think we’re just putting one foot in front of the other. However, there’s a complex coordination of bodily systems at work to make the movement happen, including coordination, strength, and sensation. If one or more systems don’t function properly, it can significantly impact a person’s gait — or how they walk.

With his expertise in orthopaedic medicine, Dr. Eric E. Johnson can identify, diagnose, and correct numerous musculoskeletal conditions that can cause an abnormal gait. Here’s what can cause changes in how you walk and how Dr. Johnson can help at his practice in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Gait disorder basics

When you walk, your body gets propelled forward with the help of balanced and coordinated muscle movements. The rhythm of this movement is known as stride, and it creates a specific pattern of walking — or gait. 

Anyone can experience abnormal gait patterns from time to time. For instance, you might pull a muscle or develop a blister on one foot, which causes you to walk in an unusual way. Even poorly fitting shoes can disrupt how you walk.

However, your chances of developing a persistent gait disorder increase with age. This is often because of older individuals having higher incidences of conditions that can affect how they walk. Plus, they often have weaker muscles, less muscle coordination, and a more delayed reaction than those in their younger years.

Other causes of gait disorders include:

Hip problems, like incorrectly healed bones — or malunions — can also affect your gait. 

Since gate disorders can have so many causes, it’s important to work with an expert to identify what could be behind your symptoms.

Types of gait disorders

Gait disorders often have distinctive characteristics that can offer clues to their cause, such as: 

Each gait disorder has a different form of treatment, so an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward improving your symptoms. It’s also crucial to work with an expert to work on fall prevention methods, as an abnormal gait can increase your chances of injury through falling.

Diagnosing and treating gate disorders

Dr. Johnson can diagnose most gait disorders during a comprehensive examination. First, he watches you walk to look for clues to your disorder. Then Dr. Johnson might:

Based on your symptoms, Dr. Johnson could also order additional imaging studies, bloodwork, and check for signs of arthritis or neurological disorders.

After reaching a diagnosis, Dr. Johnson can outline the best treatment strategy to improve your symptoms. Therapies for gait disorders range from assistive devices and physical therapy to shoe lifts, splints, or leg braces. 

Dr. Johnson also performs osteotomy procedures to correct structural issues behind gait disorders, like hip malunions. 

If you have hip pain or an abnormal gait, Dr. Johnson could have solutions. Contact his practice in Westwood, Los Angeles to schedule a consultation by calling 310-206-1169 today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Are the Most Common Causes of Polytrauma?

The human body is strong and resilient, but it can only handle so much force. More often than not, when under significant strain, it causes more than one injury at the same time. These cases are known as polytraumas and require expert care.

Treating Bowleggedness with an Osteotomy

Bowlegs may not seem serious, but this alignment problem can lead to permanent damage, including knee arthritis. Fortunately, an osteotomy can correct this condition to avoid future complications.

Complications of Hip Dysplasia

When you have hip dysplasia, the bones forming this crucial ball-in-socket joint don’t fit together properly. It’s usually present since birth, but you may not know until issues arise much later — even well into adulthood. Read on to learn more.

Signs Your Bones Aren’t Healthy

Many people ignore their bones until they break one. However, there are often subtle clues an issue is brewing before fractures occur. And most importantly? Learning to spot them can help you take action sooner and even avoid problems altogether.

How to Work Out When You Have a Fracture

Breaking a bone may seem like the perfect excuse to become a couch potato. However, remaining physically active plays an essential role in the recovery process. Keep reading to learn how to exercise when you have a fracture.