Information for Patients
What are walking problems?
If you are like most people, you walk thousands of steps each day. You walk to do your daily activities, get around, and exercise. It's something that you usually don't think about. But for those people who have a problem with walking, daily life can be more difficult.
Walking problems may cause you to
- Walk with your head and neck bent over
- Drag, drop, or shuffle your feet
- Have irregular, jerky movements when walking
- Take smaller steps
- Walk more slowly or stiffly
What causes walking problems?
The pattern of how you walk is called your gait. Many different diseases and conditions can affect your gait and lead to problems with walking. They include
- Abnormal development of the muscles or bones of your legs or feet
- Arthritis of the hips, knees, ankles, or feet
- Cerebellar disorders, which are disorders of the area of the brain that controls coordination and balance
- Foot problems, including corns and calluses, sores, and warts
- Injuries, such as broken bones, sprains, and tendinitis
- Movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease
- Neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis and peripheral nerve disorders
- Vision problems
How is the cause of a walking problem diagnosed?
To make a diagnosis, your health care provider will ask about your medical history and do a physical exam. This will include checking your bones and muscles and doing a neurological exam. In some cases, you may have other tests, such as lab or imaging tests.
What are the treatments for walking problems?
Treatment of walking problems depends on the cause. Some common types of treatments include
- Mobility aids
- Physical therapy