Understanding Non-surgical Treatments for Gait Disorders

May10th 2023

Research shows that 30% of adults living in senior communities have gait disorders. These people are usually aged 60 or older with other health conditions.

Gait disorders are something that many people struggle with, not just middle-aged people. Balance and gait issues can be the result of a variety of problems.

Even those who are quite young could suffer from one of these disorders. This is why it’s important to understand what non-surgical treatment options there are.

Keep reading to find out how to treat gait disorders without surgery.

What Are Gait Disorders?

An abnormal gait is when there is a change in your walking pattern. Everyone walks in a unique way that matches their physique and how they move.

But there are instances where your gait can become unusual to the point of being harmful. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of people struggle with these disorders.

You may not even realize that you have gait problems if you aren’t familiar with the symptoms. Some symptoms include dragging or shuffling your feet instead of lifting them.

You may also feel out of balance and sway side to side with each step. Some people also take steps that are too big or too small.

These are all signs that could point to gait disorders causing walking abnormalities. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and you may experience a specific collection of symptoms.

What Causes Gait Issues?

Now that you know more about gait and balance, what causes these issues? It can be difficult to locate the source of the problem as there are so many causes.

A very common cause is a past injury you have had, often a bone fracture or sprain. You may also have issues with your feet, such as sores, ingrown toenails, or corns.

Anything that causes pain or discomfort when walking can create gait disorders. This is because you will make up for this by walking in a different pattern than you normally would.

These issues could also be the result of joint pain, nerve damage, or inner ear issues. Some people also struggle with their walking patterns due to vision problems.

It is important to understand that gait problems could also have underlying issues. For instance, some people with Parkinson’s disease or arthritis also struggle with gait.

This can also happen to people with a herniated disc, cerebral palsy, or who have had stroke. This is why it is important to look at each individual case on a person-by-person basis.

Non-Surgical Options for Gait Disorders

The good news for people with gait abnormalities is that there are treatments available. Foot problems and balance problems can be addressed in a non-surgical way.

This can be the perfect option if you do not want to go through surgery. You may be elderly and feel uncomfortable with this, or your problems may not be as severe.

Here are some examples of non-surgical treatments that you could seek out.

Physical Therapy

One of the best treatment options is doing physical therapy. Physical therapy is where you will be working with a physical therapist to achieve better mobility.

They will assess your current gait and create a plan to treat it. You will work with your physical therapist on a regular basis to improve your walking pattern.

This is a gentle solution that provides long-term results for mild to severe problems. It is also good for treating related health issues you may also experience.

Mobility Devices

For severe gait issues, you may want to use mobility devices. Some examples of this include using a cane or a walker to get around safely.

This is a common treatment option for those who are on the older side. But anyone can use mobility devices if they are gait issues are severe enough.

This is a good solution if your problems create a risk when you are out and about.

Adjusted Footwear

For foot problems related to gait issues, adjusted footwear can be a solution. This usually includes shoe lifts or using splints or braces.

These can help to keep your feet going in the right direction. It will also help to control some abnormal walking patterns that you may have developed.

This isn’t going to be a good option for everyone, so you will want to ask a professional. This is often used in combination with other non-surgical treatment options.

Chiropractic Adjustments

Another great option is to see a chiropractor about your walking pattern. A chiropractor will examine you and identify where the problem is coming from.

If this is a result of pain or mobility issues, they will be able to address the direct cause. This in turn will impact your gait problems and help to illuminate them.

This is a great course to take since it doesn’t just treat the symptoms of the problem. For a lot of people, gait issues are a symptom of a larger physical issue they are having.

If that problem is treated, your mobility issues will also be resolved. This is why it is worth going to a chiropractor to see what their thoughts are about your condition.

Gait Disorders: What the Options Are

You may be wondering what gait disorders are and what treatment solutions are available. If you do not want to go the surgical route, there are non-surgical options available.

For example, you could go to physical therapy or get adjusted by a chiropractor.

Are you interested in physical therapy for gait issues? Contact us today at New York City Wellness to request an appointment.