An unsteady gait is an abnormality in walking that can be caused by diseases of or damage to the legs and feet (including the bones, joints, blood vessels, muscles, and other soft tissues) or to the nervous system that controls the movements necessary for walking.
An unsteady gait may occur as a result of a temporary condition, such as an injury or infection, or it may indicate a long-term (chronic) problem. An unsteady gait can be mild enough to be barely noticeable or may be so severe as to cause an inability to perform tasks of daily living. Treatments for unsteady gait depend on the underlying cause. When an unsteady gait is related to a sprain, strain, or minor injury, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications may be effective for relief. More severe injuries and conditions require specific therapies that are directed at the underlying cause of the problem.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Alcohol Quiz: Alcoholism & Health Effects
Take the Alcohol (Alcoholism) Quiz to learn how your alcohol is processed by your body and your brain....
Gout Attack Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diet
Gout attacks (gouty arthritis) are caused by crystals of uric acid deposits. Learn about symptoms, causes, treatments and...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatment
Learn about multiple sclerosis (MS) causes, symptoms, and treatment for this autoimmune disease that attacks the nerves of the...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms & Treatment
What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms,...
Stroke Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery
What is a stroke? Learn about stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, vision problems, or problems with...
Causes of Unsteady Gait
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as...
Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within...
Brain Damage: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
Brain damage causes destruction or deterioration of brain cells. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI) are...
Brain Tumor (Symptoms, Signs, Types, Causes, Survival Rates)
A brain tumor can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), primary, or secondary. Common symptoms of a primary...
Broken Bone (Types of Bone Fractures)
A broken bone is a fracture. There are different types of fractures, such as: compressed, open, stress, greenstick,...
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth,...
Cerebral palsy (CP) is an abnormality of motor function and postural tone acquired at an early age (even before birth). Cerebral...
Cuts, Scrapes and Puncture Wounds
Cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds are common, and most people will experience one of these in their lifetime. Evaluating the...
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and...
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...
Gout (Gouty Arthritis)
Buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and...
Guillain-Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disease of the nervous system due to damage to the myelin sheath around nerves....
A herniated disc may be caused by injury or degeneration from age. Symptoms depend on the location of the herniation and whether...
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar stenosis can be caused by degenerative arthritis (the most common cause), tumor, infection, or metabolic disorders...
Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that causes sudden fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, stiff neck and back,...
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Life Expectancy)
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage...
Myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body...
Parkinson's Disease (Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Stages, Treatment)
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest,...
Peripheral Neuropathy (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Medications)
Peripheral neuropathy is a problem with the functioning of the nerves outside of the spinal cord. Symptoms may include numbness,...
Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD Symptoms, Signs, Causes, Treatments)
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to diseases of the blood vessels (arteries and veins) located outside the heart and...
A pinched nerve causes pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected area due to pressure on a nerve. Caral tunnel and sciatica are...
A polio infection causes symptoms and signs such as paralysis, limb deformities, and even death. There is no curative treatment...
Psoriatic arthritis is a disease that causes skin and joint inflammation. Symptoms include painful, stiff, and swollen joints,...
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints,...
Septic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs...
Sprains and Strains
An injury to a ligament is called a sprain, and an injury to muscle or tendon is called a strain. Sprains and strains may be...
Stroke (Signs, Symptoms, Warning Signs)
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding...
Vasculitis (Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Types)
Vasculitis (arteritis, angiitis) is a general term for a group of uncommon diseases which feature inflammation of the blood...
Other Causes of Unsteady Gait
Examples of Medications for Unsteady Gait
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Bayer, Ecotrin, and others)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever, and others)
- naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
- OTC Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter