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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 32104
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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My mother is 85 years old. Some times she walks with the ...

Resolved Question:

My mother is 85 years old. Some times she walks with the "schuffel " so common with folks her age and some times she can walk with a normal gate. She never knows which way it will be until she starts to walk. Either way she tires easily because of her age. can you tell me why her gate is so different from one time to the next?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 8 years ago.

Greetings.

The osteoarthritis occurs in the weight bearing joints namely hip, knee and ankle and in lower back. The waddling gait which is typically associated with the osteoarthritis and aging is due to stiffness of the joints and muscles which can vary with the time and activity of an individual. This recurrent change in gait is not an uncommon phenomenon.

Please feel free for your follow up questions.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
This evening we arrived home and my mother shuffeled from the car to the kitchen and sat down. Thirty minutes later she got up,shuffeled to the bathroom adjoining the kitchen and then walked normally from the bathroom for the next five minutes or so until her hips got tired. Is that sort of time interval for such a drastic change in gate normal and common?
Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 8 years ago.

Hello,

No, this is not common for the change of gait because of musculoskeletal reasons or osteoarthritis. This would need neurological assessment for balance disorders and gait analysis.

The typical and peculiar phenomenon of the osteoarthritis is initial waddling gait which would come with either over exertion (for the age and endurance) or with the rest. In between the gait is normal.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
"The typical and peculiar phenomenon of the osteoarthritis is initial waddling gait which would come with either over exertion (for the age and endurance) or with the rest."

"With the rest" of what?

Are you using "waddling gate" in the same way I am using "schuffeling gate" i.e very short steps?
Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 8 years ago.

HelloCustomer

With the rest means any type of rest which includes when one gets up in morning or whenever one gets up from the chair after sitting for say 15 minutes or more.

A typical waddling gait is short steps with a slightly tilting on the side ways (may resemble duckling walk), which is typical of aging/osteoarthritis. There are small minor variation according to the extent of disease in either of the joint. As I mentioned short steps can be part of it for maintaining the balance. The differential diagnosis of this is usually with the neurological origin of the change in gait which can be because of the balance disorders (cerebellum diseases). But the usual neurological disorders do not produce changing gait and the gait affection is usually persistent, although an examination is always helpful to differentiate the cause.

Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
One final question. Would you suggest an examination by a specialist in gereatrics or neurology?

Thank you Dr. Phophalia and good evening.
Expert:  Dr. Arun Phophalia replied 8 years ago.

Hello,

Either of the specialist (falls in both the domains) will be able to diagnose and manage the problem.

Have a great evening.

Dr. Arun

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