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Houston Methodist’s integrated rehabilitation and neurology team is uniquely positioned to diagnose and treat even the most complex gait disorders. We collaborate to offer comprehensive therapies that cover the neurological, physical and emotional aspects of living with movement disorders.
Gait and balance problems can be caused by neurological disorders, muscle weakness or underlying conditions such as arthritis. Our integrated specialists can help reduce the risk of falls, increase your motor control and improve your symptoms, safely and effectively.
Diagnosing & Treating Gait Disorders
How are gait disorders diagnosed
Our movement disorder experts will conduct a detailed medical history, including a discussion of your family and personal history of symptoms such as:
- Propulsive gait – a stooped, stiff posture with the head and neck bent forward that can be caused by Parkinson’s disease, toxins such as carbon monoxide poisoning or certain medications such as Haloperidol.
- Scissors gait – the legs flex slightly at the hips and knees like you are crouching, and the knees and thighs hit or cross in a scissors-like movement. This gait can be caused by conditions such as traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, stroke or cerebral palsy.
- Spastic gait – a stiff walk with a foot that drags due to contraction of a long muscle on one side of the body. This gait can be caused by other brain injuries or neurological conditions.
- Steppage gait – when the foot drops, hanging with the toes pointing downward. The toes scrape the ground, and patients need to use a walker to lift their legs higher while walking. This condition can be caused by Guillain-Barre syndrome, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury.
- Waddling gait – a duck-like walk that may appear in childhood or later in life. This gait can be caused by muscular dystrophy or spinal muscle weakness.
Next, we will perform a physical and neurological examination to assess your cognitive abilities, movement control and underlying conditions, if any. Depending on your results, we may request MRI and CT scans to locate lesions that might be causing your symptoms.
What treatment options are available?
Houston Methodist neurologists will partner with you in long-term disease management. Using innovative gait monitoring devices, we can identify subtle changes that occur over time, document how therapy improves your symptoms and make adjustments, based on your personal health goals.
I need advanced care or a second opinion.
Gait disorder symptoms and treatment needs can change over time. Our neurologists are part of a multidisciplinary team that tailors care plans to every patient’s unique condition.