Unsteady Gait: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2017
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