Even though walking comes as naturally to us as breathing, the act takes coordination between your brain and muscles. Your heart and lungs play important roles too.
When you propel yourself forward into a stride, you create a pattern of walking that is known as your gait.
As you get older or suffer from certain health issues, your gait can become compromised, putting you at risk for falls. There are myriad causes of gait problems, so your doctor must find the root cause so they can address it and normalize your gait.
The experienced podiatry team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers is well-versed in diagnosing and effectively treating gait issues, no matter their source.
We approach your care with clinical expertise, creativity, and warmth, and consider it a privilege to provide you with a wide range of services and advanced treatments.
The many causes of an abnormal gait can stem from different conditions. When you think about it, any of a number of foot deformities or problems have the potential to alter how you walk. These include:
Injuries like sprains and fractures also contribute to gait instability, as does overall ankle instability.
Any foot or ankle problems that cause pain and discomfort are likely to make you walk differently, just to get relief. Over time, though, these problems can extend to pain in other parts of your body, like your hips or back.
Your overall stability — or instability — is heavily influenced by your gait.
Proper gait is critical because it prevents you from falling and enhances your body’s overall stability and flexibility. If you’re not moving correctly, the higher fall risk means you’re more likely to suffer the devastating consequences of a broken hip, disability, or even death.
A broken bone from a gait-related fall may lead to surgery, rehabilitation services, and lots of time away from the things you enjoy.
Gait problems also hinder even simple movements, from getting in and out of the tub to moving around the kitchen as you cook.
When you visit your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers provider, they first listen carefully to your history of symptoms, and gain as much information as they can about when your abnormal gait started, how it’s impacting your life, and whether it has led to other injuries.
That’s followed by a conversation about your detailed medical history, including any chronic conditions you may live with.
They also carefully evaluate your feet, noting conditions like bunions or plantar warts that can hinder walking. Imaging tests might also be necessary for your podiatrist to get a closer look at what’s going on with your feet and ankle structure.
Since gait problems can be traced to so many conditions, your podiatrist may also advise getting your vision checked or undergoing neurological testing to evaluate your balance and strength levels.
Only after all of these factors have been analyzed can your doctor make an informed diagnosis and create a personalized treatment plan that may include the use of medication, medical devices like orthotics, physical therapy, or a walker or cane to improve your gait.
They might also suggest a combination of approaches.
Sometimes surgery is the right corrective solution for gait problems. If that’s the case for you, we help prepare you for your surgery and fully explain what will be involved before the procedure, during it, and while you recover.
Don’t put off seeking treatment for an abnormal gait — the risks are too great. Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office that’s most convenient to you today and schedule a consultation with us, or use our convenient online booking tool.