Difficulty walking, dizziness, and unsteady gait. Any of these may result in a fall.
Falls can cause serious injuries, such as hip fractures, and a cascade of consequences, like surgery and rehab center admissions.
Normal gait requires many systems to function in unison. Gait abnormalities are unusual and uncontrolled walking patterns that may lead to falls. Most gait and balance problems have a number of contributing factors. Gait and balance problems can be caused by trauma, inflammation, postural changes in blood pressure or underlying conditions, such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis.
A licensed physical therapist can perform a detailed and specialized screening of the systems in your body that regulate gait and balance. Your therapist will ask about any medications you take and whether you have vision or hearing problems.
Fortunately, balance and stability can be improved with exercise. After a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist can pinpoint underlying causes of the gait and balance abnormalities and design a program of exercises to strengthen the muscles involved.
With improved strength and balance, the risk of falls and serious injury decreases.