Gait disorders

More mobility and independence again

Walking is the most natural way of locomotion and a matter of course for us. In fact, however, it requires complex processes in the nervous system and musculature. Our own perception of movement, our vestibular system in the inner ear, our eyes and the control of our muscles are crucial. If there are problems in one of these areas, gait disorders can occur. If you are affected by an unsteady gait and balance problems, a precise medical diagnosis is well worthwhile. The individual components of these issues can be treated very effectively once they have been identified. At Schoen Clinic, there is a high degree of expertise in diagnosing and treating gait disorders. We treat both mobile and severely affected patients.

Causes & symptoms

Causes: How gait disorders develop

There are diverse causes behind gait disorders. Disorders affecting the sensory organs (eyes, equilibrium organs in the inner ear, nerves on the feet) and various acute and chronic brain diseases (stroke, Parkinson’s ataxia, multiple sclerosis) are particularly significant in the field of neurology. A fear of falls often adds to uncertainty. Multiple causes often converge in advanced age, and these must be carefully differentiated.

Symptoms: This is how one recognises a gait disorder

Gait disorders can differ widely: from slight hobbling to severe walking disorders that make walking impossible. Gait speed or gait pattern deviate considerably from the norm. You will notice that the gait pattern is no longer harmonious by the fact that:
  • walking no longer represents a fluid and symmetrical movement
  • Your arms won’t swing anymore
  • Your feet have no normal distance from each other
  • Your stride length is shortened
  • You lift the sole of your foot too little when walking.
Constant insecurity while walking – possibly with repeated falls – can be very stressful, cause injuries and ultimately lead to a withdrawal from life.

Diagnostics

Recognising disturbed walking

Our consultants and therapists are trained in the treatment of gait disorders. Besides your medical history, the analysis of your standing and walking ability is important for us. After that, the gait disorder can be further limited by means of a targeted examination of the areas that really cause problems. In our gait laboratory, we can record the deficits quantitatively and assign them to a diagnosis. The modern methods allow treatment success to be assessed later on. In suspected cases of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), repeated measurements are particularly important in terms of introducing the proper treatment. Further examinations are sometimes necessary for a reliable diagnosis. These include computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, blood and spinal fluid examinations, as well as the measurement of nerve conduction velocity, brain currents and nerve-muscle conduction.