Falls and injuries caused by poor foot gait are costly to treat. If you have a foot gait issue, you should see a podiatrist right away. Minor foot gait issues can disrupt your life by causing pain, making you unable to work or exercise, or necessitating the purchase of new shoes regularly.
A doctor may recommend physical therapy or other forms of treatment to address the issue. Corrective footwear, on the other hand, is frequently the solution. Putting on a good pair of shoes can help people with severe foot gait problems resume an active lifestyle and reduce the risk of future health problems.
Abnormal Gait: Types, Causes, and Diagnosis
“Gait” refers to a person’s walking pattern. Walking necessitates the use of muscle coordination and balance to propel the body forward rhythmically. Walking abnormalities, also called gait disorders, are uncontrollable walking patterns that are different from normal. They can be caused by genetic disorders, injuries, or certain medical conditions.
Causes of Abnormal Gait
Gait abnormalities could be a result of various underlying causes, such as
- Inner ear disorders
- Neurological conditions such as peripheral nerve disorders (PND)
- Different foot conditions, such as corns, warts, and calluses
- Foot injuries such as fractures
- Vision problems
The likelihood of developing gait disorders increases with age. Muscle disease is common in older people. It makes muscles weak and slows down coordination and reaction time.
Types of Gait Abnormalities
Let’s look at seven types of abnormal gait.
This is a gait disorder in which the hip and knee flex. The foot is usually pronated or in an abducted position. The patient may have poor balance and shuffle, or their feet may be positioned at an angle to the direction of their body’s movement. This is caused by weak hip abductors, which make the hips turn inward when walking. This makes the lower back and pelvis unstable.
Propulsive gait is a common gait pattern in which the foot strikes the ground and rolls off immediately. It is caused by a quick forward movement of the knee and hip. For this type of gait, the foot does not need to be lifted.
Due to injury or disease, a person with this gait loses sensation from the spine or peripheral nerves and is unable to control muscle activity between the legs and feet. This causes abnormal gaits like stiff-legged walking or dragging one leg behind while walking.
Spastic gait occurs when one or more leg muscles become stiff and weak, resulting in a shortened stride and awkward movement. Walking on the flat ground requires the individual to take small steps and walk with their feet turned out.
The steppage gait is distinguished by a broad-based stiffness, with each step taken on tiptoe and without bending the knee. Abnormal toe walking can be a sign of a deeper problem, like a neuromuscular disorder like cerebral palsy or a difference in the length of the legs.
This common gait abnormality produces a high stepping motion with each footfall marked by a deep heel strike followed by a small push-off at the toes. It is produced by cerebellar lesions or cervical spondylosis.
A scissors walk is made up of irregularly alternating steps that consist of short steps with one foot in front of the other, followed by an extension of both legs into long ones so that both feet land on the same side at the same time.
When the support leg lands outside the center of mass, the scissor’s gait occurs. This is common when one leg is more involved in pushing off on landing than the other.
A waddling gait is a walking style in which the knees move inward towards each other. Several things, like spinal cord injury and spina bifida, can lead to this.
Hip problems, such as femoral acetabular impingement, cause a waddling gait. This condition is marked by pain and instability when moving because of the abnormal shape of the hip socket.
Signs you have Foot Gait Problem
Foot gait issues can be difficult to identify. The primary reason for this is that the feet are directly connected to the legs and, eventually, the spine. As a result, a foot problem could be caused by any factor higher up in the gait system.
Walking requires your feet to strike the ground beneath your body and then roll through the soles to propel you forward. This is known as pronation, and it keeps your ankles, knees, and hips in good working order. If you have a foot gait issue, your feet will strike the ground on the outside edges rather than underneath you. This frequently results in pain in the ankles, knees, hips, and back.
The following are signs of a possible foot gait problem:
- Bruising or swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs
- Pain when walking or running
- Swelling of the feet after prolonged standing
- Difficulty walking up stairs, curbs, or hills
A doctor will first examine your feet and ankles for swelling, tenderness, and pain. He will also examine your toes and joints for any deformities. The doctor may also ask you to do simple exercises, like bending forward or squatting, so he can see how strong and coordinated your muscles are.
Foot Gait Treatment in Saratoga Springs, UT
If you are currently having difficulty walking, you must make an appointment with a doctor to determine the cause of your gait disorder. This may include physical evaluation, imaging scans such as x-rays or MRI, and blood tests. Once your doctor identifies your gait issues, they can make a plan to manage the condition.
Some gait disorders will improve with medication or surgery; others may need a combination of both treatment approaches. Your doctor may recommend therapy or physical activity to improve your overall strength and mobility. Mobility aids such as a cane or walker might help treat gait disorders.
Have you ever had issues with your foot’s gait? Book an appointment with our podiatrists.
At Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute, we provide the best services in foot care. If you experience pain in your feet or ankles, please visit our physician for a diagnosis and treatment options as soon as possible. We will diagnose your problem and provide you with comprehensive care to address issues related to your walking problems. Call 801-756-4200 to book a consultation today.