Balance & Gait Disorders
Gait and balance problems exist when a disease process, trauma, or aging result in the inability to control one's center of gravity over the base of support in static or dynamic tasks and environments.
Any number of factors may contribute to gait and balance problems:
- Impaired sensory processes (visual, vestibular, somatosensory)
- Inadequate neuromuscular responses (signaling of brain to/from muscle)
- Musculoskeletal problems (impaired range of motion, strength, flexibility)
- Decreased cognition (inability to anticipate or adapt to postural needs)
Poor attention, decreased judgment and slow processing can increase risk of loss of balance. Without awareness of environmental hazards and necessary safety precautions, patients who have had a stroke or brain trauma have an increased propensity to fall.