How can your doctor tell what is causing your gait disorder?

The cause of a gait disorder can be multiple and sometimes the causes overlap. To diagnose the disorder, the doctor will first observe your gait. Next,

  • He or she may check that the legs are the same length (some patients with artificial hips or lower back pain may have legs of different length).
  • Your muscle strength, muscle tone, and coordination will be assessed.
  • If you are older, your vision and blood pressure (both lying and standing) may be checked to rule out vision problems or orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure upon standing) as the cause.
  • Your neck and spine may be checked for deformities.
  • An assessment of your risk of falling will be performed.
  • Depending on the type of gait disorder, you will be checked for arthritis or neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Based on these results, laboratory and imaging studies may be done.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/19/2019.


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