Health And Fitness Health Tips

Walking Disabilities: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Walking Disabilities
Written by Ella Stephen

There are many types of walking disabilities, which affects both the old and young people. Some of these walking disabilities are either inherited or caused by other factors such as injuries and diseases. Walking disabilities may affect the nerves of legs, bones or muscles. In some situation, the disability may be present in certain parts of the leg, or in the entire leg.

Depending on the cause of the walking disability, it can either be a temporary or long term. Severe walking disabilities may require medical care or long-term physical therapy.

Walking Disabilities

Causes of Walking Disabilities
Difficulty in walking can happen temporarily due to bone fracture, cuts, insect stings or bruising. However, walking disabilities may also be caused by diseases that affect the brain, nerves, legs or spine. The most common walking disabilities include:

  • Leg injuries
    • Arthritis
    • Bone fracture
    • Birth defect
    • Nervous system disorder
    • An infection that leads to damaging the tissues within the legs
    • Inner ear infection
    • Psychological disorders
    • Shin splints (an injury that mainly affects athletes)

Even though many of these conditions are just temporal, some may lead to permanent walking disabilities.

Symptoms of Walking Disabilities

Walking disabilities are categorized into five groups based on their symptoms:

  • Scissors Gait
    An individual with this disability mainly walks with his or her legs bent slightly inwards. However, there are those people who will walk with their feet hitting or crossing each other.
  • Propulsive Gait
    This walking condition is mainly characterized by a slouched, rigid posture. An individual with this condition walks with their head and neck thrust forward.

Spastic Gait
People with this condition usually drag their feet while walking. They may sometimes appear to walk very stiffly.

Steppage Gait
People with this condition walk with their feet pointing downwards, before the back of their feet drops to the surface.

Waddling Gait
People with this condition waddle from side to side.

How are Walking Disabilities Diagnosed?
When you visit your doctor, he or she will observe the way you walk, and then review your symptoms together with your medical history. Your physician may also carry out some test to check your muscles and nerve function. An X-ray might be ordered if you had a recent fall or injury. To have a more in-depth image, your doctor may order an MRI to check for torn ligaments and tendons.

Treating Walking Disabilities
It is not right to treat all individuals with physical disabilities as if they have the same condition. If an infection has caused your walking disability, antiviral or antibiotic medication may be prescribed. Physical therapy can also be used to assist people with walking disabilities. If you have permanent walking disabilities, you may receive walker accessories to assist you in your movement.

About the author

Ella Stephen