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A Problem With Your Gait May Start in Your Brain

 If you have gait or balance issues, it might seem obvious to put the blame on your legs, ankles, knees, or hips. However, the source of the issue could be neurological, concerned with functionality in your brain. You may need the care and attention of an expert neurology team to correctly diagnose and address your gait-related concerns.

At Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography, Habib Khan, MD, leads a careful and compassionate team that is ready and able to help. We treat new and existing patients from around the Casa Grande, Arizona, area. Here's what we want you to know about the complex connection between your balance, your movement, and your brain.

The complex teamwork of walking

We use the word “gait” to refer to the complex set of processes that have to be put in motion for you to walk normally and evenly. Walking might seem like a simple thing, but you may be surprised at how many elements of your body have to work together to keep you in balanced motion.

Your gait involves parts of your body including your sensory organs, like your ears and eyes, as well as your muscles. Your brain and sensory nerves organize all of the information you need to know about the environment around you. Your brain and motor nerves then govern the motion of your muscles and limbs.

To take even just a few steps, all of these elements need to function seamlessly. If you have an underlying condition causing you to feel unstable when standing and walking, you could risk a bad fall or other injury. Your pain and inflammation levels may also worsen over time, if your condition is not diagnosed and treated.

Gait disorders and your brain

If you have gait and balance problems, you likely experience unsteadiness and trouble walking. You might also have trouble with dizziness or lightheadedness or struggle with motion sickness or vertigo. In some cases, you might experience muscle weakness in one or both of your legs or numbness in your legs or feet.

Symptoms relating to gait and balance problems are associated with several specific conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease, and brain tumors. Gait disorders can also appear as a result of a stroke. Once we determine the cause of your condition, we can advise you about your chances of full recovery, and recommend the best course of treatment for your unique health care needs.

In order to correctly identify the potential neurological cause of your gait problems, the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography team starts with a complete physical and neurological exam. We can also use performance testing and sensory testing to confirm your diagnosis. We may use an MRI or CT scan to examine your spine or brain structure or order blood tests.

To get started evaluating your neurological symptoms of gait and balance disruption, contact the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography today. You can schedule your initial consultation appointment by calling our office, or with the online tool.

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