Gait and Balance Disorder

Gait and Balance Disorder services offered in Houston and Friendswood, TX

Gait and Balance Disorder

Gait and balance disorders limit your mobility and put you at risk of falling and potentially sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury. If you struggle with dizziness or changes in how you walk, Bowman Physical Therapy can help. Its physical therapy providers have extensive experience evaluating your symptoms and providing therapy that restores your balance and improves your gait. Call the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston or Friendswood, Texas, office or request a gait and balance disorder consultation online today.

What causes gait and balance disorders?

Gait and balance disorders affect your ability to stand and move, increasing your risk of falling and making it difficult to keep up with everyday activities.

Gait disorders

Gait disorders change the way you walk. These changes may be due to foot, ankle, or leg pain or develop due to neurological and musculoskeletal disorders, such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Alzheimer’s disease (and other dementias)
  • Pinched spinal nerves
  • Muscle weakness
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis

Aging doesn’t cause gait disorders, but age-related health changes may contribute to the problem. A change in your gait may be an early sign of an underlying health concern.

Balance disorders

Balance disorders make you feel dizzy or like the room is spinning around you (vertigo). Your balance is affected by many possible conditions, including:

  • Inner ear infection, disorder, or injury
  • Concussion
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Low blood pressure
  • Thyroid disease

Age-related changes in your vision, hearing, and other body functions can also impair your balance.

How do I know when to seek help for gait and balance disorders?

It’s time to seek help if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo (feeling like the room is spinning)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Blurry vision
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Stumbling or falling

A change in your gait may cause you to move slower, drag your feet, take short steps, limp, or shuffle.

How are gait and balance disorders treated?

The first step is visiting your primary care physician to identify underlying health conditions that need medical treatment. Beyond medical care, physical therapy is essential for gait and balance disorders.

Physical therapy treats gait disorders using exercises to increase strength, endurance, and mobility, as well as functional rehabilitation to retrain leg muscles and teach proper gait. Neurological physical therapy can improve gait and balance issues caused by damaged nerves.

Your therapist uses several techniques to improve balance. You may practice balancing on a foam surface, teach fall recovery strategies, and provide vestibular therapy, which includes techniques such as:

  • Balance retraining
  • Walking exercises
  • Vision stability training
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Integrating vision, sensory, and vestibular information 

Bowman Physical Therapy can help if you’re worried about poor balance, want to improve your coordination, or notice changes in your gait. Call the nearest office or request a consultation using the online booking feature today.