People all over the place shuffle for many different reasons. Some shuffle to dance—there’s even a line dance called the “cupid shuffle.” Monsters and zombies shuffle along in movies to increase the scare factor. Some people, however, shuffle because they struggle with unsteady walking and are concerned they might fall over. There are many different causes of an unsteady gait, and all can lead to a loss of independence and mobility.
An unsteady gait is any problem walking in a coordinated way. Typically this means you have trouble maintaining your posture and avoiding falls as well. Sometimes this is a temporary problem, and sometimes it’s a serious side effect of an issue that might be permanent. Handling your unstable walking largely depends on the underlying issue that’s affecting your footsteps, so discovering the cause of your unsteady gait is an important part of taking care of the problem. Here are a few potential causes:
Intoxication – Too much alcohol impairs balance, which is why walking in a straight line is a test police use on drivers. This is a very temporary cause of unsteady walking.
Weak Feet – Weak, unstable feet that give out under you can cause a shaky, insecure gait. This can potentially be remedied with foot and balance exercises.
Arthritis – Joint stiffness can make it very difficult to walk normally or comfortably. There are treatments that can help ease this.
Injuries – Injuries to bones, muscles, connective tissues, and nerves—particularly if those nerves are in the spine or the brain—can make walking, or even standing, quite difficult. These issues may or may not be permanent.
Foot Pain – Sometimes simply having sore feet or a nagging foot pain impairs your ability to walk well.
Autoimmune Diseases – Some diseases weaken muscles and nerves, negatively affecting your balance. This may or may not be something that can be easily treated.
Knowing what causes your unsteady gait can make a difference in treating it. Don’t just shuffle along and wish it would get better. Contact Dr. Darren Silvester and the team at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic for help. You can reach our Pleasanton, TX office by calling (830) 569-3338 or by using our web request form.