Gait Disorders

Gait disorders affect one’s balance, walk and movement, and can sometimes accompany a condition like Parkinson’s disease. The resulting difficulty in movement can lead to injury, most commonly a fall.

What are Gait Disorders?

Difficulty stepping, walking, or trouble with balance are some characteristics of gait disorders. While the disorder can be caused by injury or disease, it is also the result of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms of a gait disorder may include:


  • Flexing at the hips and/or knees
  • Gait resembles waddling or is duck-like
  • Rigid or hunched posture
  • Stiffness or dragging of the feet
  • Toes scrape the ground while walking


Diagnosing Gait Disorders

A physical examination including the observations of one’s walk will be conducted. A physician may speak to you about your symptoms and review your family and medical history. Some neurological tests may be ordered if a physician suspects that the disorder may be associated with another condition. 

Treatment for Gait Disorders

The treatment for gait disorders can vary, particularly if it’s the result of another condition like Parkinson’s disease. In such cases, treatment of the primary condition can also produce results in the gait disorder.

Assistive devices such as leg braces or splints can be helpful with mobility. For some conditions, wearing a special type of shoe can help reduce the risk of falling. Most patients may also benefit from some types of physical therapy.