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What causes "toddling gait" in adults?
Old 01-26-2019, 09:29 AM   #1
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What causes "toddling gait" in adults?

We are on vacation in Florida, using a gym frequented by older people. I've observed several elderly men who walk with a toddling gait - little, tiny, quick steps. (Fortunately, unlike small toddlers, none of these men has fallen down while I was there to see!)

I'm quite certain none of them choose to walk that way; it is the best they can do, and at least they are on their own power and seem to have energy. But what causes this gait ? Hip trouble? In that case, wonder why they do not have hip replacements?

Not seeking to criticize, just medically curious.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:33 AM   #2
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A friend of our had it because of hip problems . He eventually had bilateral total hip replacements and it went away.Some people hate the idea of surgery and put it off until it has caused damage to other joints .
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:42 AM   #3
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I would guess hip issues. If I've run a really long race and my hips are sore afterward, I'll walk somewhat like that.

Agree that some don't want surgery. My mom had one hip replacement that went well, but there was infection after the second one and I think it had to be redone 4 times, and she had a miserable year.
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:48 AM   #4
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Like this?

https://youtu.be/XlT3-3bG-Zw?t=44

-ERD50
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:53 AM   #5
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Exactly like that, minus the laugh track.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:57 AM   #6
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I see that at my gym all the time . It takes them forever to reach a machine . That gait looks more like knee problems than hip problems . My friends gait was more side to side like a toddler with a big diaper .
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Old 01-26-2019, 09:59 AM   #7
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I was going to say fear of falling, but found this:

10 most common reasons seniors shuffle when they walk
  1. Weak hips and leg muscles
  2. Arthritis pain in joints
  3. Loss of flexibility in feet making it hard to flex them normally
  4. Decreased ability to maintain balance
  5. Decreased vision making it hard to see
  6. Fear because of a recent stumble or fall
  7. Slow reaction time when unbalanced which increases fear of falling
  8. Medication side effects
  9. Worn or poorly-fitting shoes or slippers
  10. Slippery floors
I didn't include the link because it's riddled with pop-ups and ads. You're welcome.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:01 AM   #8
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My DW has a "toddling" gait. It is caused by a degenerative neurological condition that affects balance and proprioception.

Not all medical problems are caused by visible issues. You will find young MS sufferers have a similar thing.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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Was talking to a neurologist and he said he could diagnose problems by watching people walk through the mall. He said it got to be depressing after a while.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:19 AM   #10
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I see a couple of people who do something similar, not as pronounced as Tim. They also both walk with their arms outstretched. I thought it was Parkinsons?
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:25 AM   #11
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One of the elderly members of our golf club walked like that, he had Parkinson's disease, unfortunately he's no longer able to play.
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Old 01-26-2019, 10:30 AM   #12
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Parkinson’s, diabetic neuropathy-it’s hard to maintain balance when you barely feel your feet. Cataracts also-poor vision makes you more cautious.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:12 AM   #13
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Parkinson’s can cause it.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
We are on vacation in Florida, using a gym frequented by older people. I've observed several elderly men who walk with a toddling gait - little, tiny, quick steps. (Fortunately, unlike small toddlers, none of these men has fallen down while I was there to see!)

I'm quite certain none of them choose to walk that way; it is the best they can do, and at least they are on their own power and seem to have energy. But what causes this gait ? Hip trouble? In that case, wonder why they do not have hip replacements?

Not seeking to criticize, just medically curious.
I see this a lot. I attribute it to lack of flexibility. I see folks walking rocking from side to side. I also see folks out walking with their torso pushed forward. It seems like lack of flexibility in hips and perhaps also lower back.

Seems pretty common. At least they are out walking!!!
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:19 AM   #15
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My dad had Parkinson's and he walked that way. His perception was that he was taking big steps, so he was trying to compensate for that.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I was going to say fear of falling, but found this:

10 most common reasons seniors shuffle when they walk
  1. Weak hips and leg muscles
  2. Arthritis pain in joints
  3. Loss of flexibility in feet making it hard to flex them normally
  4. Decreased ability to maintain balance
  5. Decreased vision making it hard to see
  6. Fear because of a recent stumble or fall
  7. Slow reaction time when unbalanced which increases fear of falling
  8. Medication side effects
  9. Worn or poorly-fitting shoes or slippers
  10. Slippery floors
I didn't include the link because it's riddled with pop-ups and ads. You're welcome.
I think this is a great answer.

When I was a little girl and asked the many seniors that I knew about why they "walked funny" (among a billion other questions a 3 or 4 year old child might ask an elderly person), the answers I received were among those on the above list.

When I asked them why the veins on the back of their hands were so visible when I couldn't see the veins in MY hands, the answers were less consistent.
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Old 01-26-2019, 11:52 AM   #17
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I can't say exactly why they do, but I will admit that reason "#10 Slippery floors" is the reason that I walk that way sometimes. I shuffle on glare ice, especially when it is not a flat surface. I don't shuffle at all under any other situations.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:50 PM   #18
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I remember, as a teen living in Florida with my parents, observing older people and frankly, getting scared of all the unpleasant things that seemed to happen to them all. Were these awful things going to happen to me, too?

One weird thing I noticed was that many older men walked bowlegged, with their legs wide apart. This was something I had never seen younger people do, except cowboys in western movies. I cautiously asked my Mother if "something hurts them in there" and she said no, they just let their bellies get too big.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
When I was a little girl and asked the many seniors that I knew about why they "walked funny" (among a billion other questions a 3 or 4 year old child might ask an elderly person), the answers I received were among those on the above list.

D
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:02 PM   #19
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I just crossed the 8 month mark post hip replacement. I am still having pain and gait issues and i'm in my late 30's. Recovery would presumably be harder for an older person. I can see holding of on any major surgery for as long as possible. If they can modify their walk to reduce pain to a tolerable level then i'm in favor of it. No guarantee a hip replacement will end with a better result than they have now.
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Old 01-26-2019, 02:28 PM   #20
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Not the gait in ERD50's video, but shuffling. Spend a little time in an older community, and you'll see a lot of short steps. Many because of Parkinsons, probably more due to loss of strength or cautiousness.
One of the requirements of living in independent apartments in our community, requires that a person be able to be mobile. Wheelchair or walkers are ok, but falling injury or becoming unable to be able to get around independently, means moving to assisted living or rehab.

As to not getting a hip replacement... for most, that's usually the last choice. Enough of these as a ''result of a fall and broken hip". It's one thing at age 50, but different for most in their late 70's, 80's and 90's.
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