Abnormality of gait refers to an unusual walking pattern or style. There are many
types of gait abnormalities, each with their own name and list of possible causes.
More to Know
An unusual walking pattern can be caused by diseases of the central nervous
system (such as cerebral
palsy, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis), or be the result of an
injury or deformity in the brain, spinal cord, legs, feet, or inner ear.
Gait abnormalities are common in young children. The types most often seen are
in-toeing (when the feet turn
inward) and out-toeing (when
the feet turn outward). These conditions are not painful and usually resolve on their
own as the child develops.
If a gait abnormality is not self-correcting, a doctor may recommend special shoes,
casts, or leg braces. Some cases might require surgery. Physical
therapy can help someone with a gait problem learn to walk more easily and safely.
A walker or cane might be advised for someone with poor balance.
Keep in Mind
People with gait abnormalities can be very independent, but they are at higher
risk for falls and other injuries. They may need to move at a slower pace and ask
for assistance when walking on uneven ground.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical