Do you ever feel unsteady, as if you may fall over without warming? Does your hip, knee, or other joint pain make it difficult to move? Do you ever experience a “spinning” sensation, even when you are standing perfectly still? If you identify with any of these scenarios, you may be suffering from a balance or gait disorder.
Balance and gait disorders can be both physically and mentally debilitating, and there are several reasons why they may occur. A number of underlying neurological or musculoskeletal disorders can either cause or aggravate a balance/gait disorder. However, these disorders can fortunately be treated through physiotherapy. PT treatments can help significantly reduce your symptoms and may even correct your condition altogether. To learn more about how you can steady your balance and gait issues, and work toward getting back on your feet, contact Elite Physiotherapy Clinic, Progressive Sports Medicine, or Total Health Link to schedule a consultation today!
Balance and gait disorders can be categorized in the same family as functional disorders. They interfere with your ability to keep yourself upright, your normal means of movement, and your positional awareness.
Balance and gait disorders are similar in many ways, but they also have some important differences. The Mayo Clinic refers to balance disorders as anything that causes you to feel as if you are “spinning,” or in danger of falling, even if you are sitting or standing still. Balance disorders affect both physical and mental functionality, since the brain thinks you are moving when you really are not.
Gait disorders are a bit different. They can cause abnormal movements with the way you walk and run, and these abnormal movements can become more exaggerated as you get older. In fact, Move Forward Physiotherapy states that gait disorders account for 17 percent of senior falls, as symptoms seem to worsen with age.
There are a large number of reasons why balance and gait disorders may develop. Many balance disorders occur as a result of underlying issues in the vestibular system, which is a delicate collection of fluid-filled chambers and sensory nerves located in the inner ear. The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining your sense of position, also known as “proprioception.”
Some common vestibular conditions that may result in balance disorders include:
Any condition that impairs nerve or muscle function can cause you to walk in an abnormal manner. Therefore, gait disorders can also develop from the symptoms of neurological or neuromuscular issues, much like balance disorders. However, gait problems can also appear as the result of underlying musculoskeletal problems. Common conditions leading to gait disorders include overuse injuries, plantar fasciitis, abnormal foot arches, or uneven muscle support that can make you favor one side of your body more than the other.
If you previously sustained an injury that never healed properly, it could also lead to a gait disorder. This occurs when the internal scar tissue doesn’t heal correctly, causing limitations to the range of motion in your hips, knees, or feet.
At your initial appointment, one of our dedicated Burlington physiotherapists will conduct a comprehensive physical evaluation to examine your balance, gait, stance, symptoms, and medical history. Afterward, your therapist will design an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs. Your physiotherapist can provide you with the tools you need to relieve the symptoms of your balance or gait disorder. In most cases, Elite Physiotherapy Clinic, Progressive Sports Medicine, and Total Health Link can even help you recover completely from your condition. Treatment plans for balance and gait disorders typically include:
If you are suffering from a balance or gait disorder, contact our Burlington physiotherapy office at Burlington, ON to schedule an appointment. Elite Physiotherapy Clinic, Progressive Sports Medicine, and Total Health Link will help you get back on your feet in no time!