Why do so many older people limp?
Dr. Douglas Dirschl, chairman of the University of Chicago’s Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine department, says that 4% of children who visit hospital emergency rooms limp, and that rate more than doubles in people in their 60s.
The published data on limping seems somewhat vague. How common are gait abnormalities?
About 15 to 20% of people have something noticeable in their gait, such as pain or weakness on one side, or a leg-length discrepancy; even Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, has a slight discrepancy in his stride.
Why is limping so common, especially in the elderly?
Any one of these, or a combination of them, can cause someone to limp. Pain can affect any of the limping-related joints: hip, knee, ankle, or foot. Diagnosing the cause of a limp is based on history and laboratory tests.
How about stiffness?
An expert can tell the difference between a stiff lumbar spine and a fairly joint-specific limp due to an injury or surgical procedure. Each gait is subtly different, but an expert can tell the difference.
How can you tell?
A coxalgic gait, for example, is a specific response to hip pain. When you see someone walking normally, their gait should have a natural, balanced rhythm to it, which we break down into smaller segments for analysis.
How do you measure that?
Walking involves two phases, one in which the foot is not in contact with the ground and the other in which it is. People with a painful limp will shorten the stance phase on the side that hurts in order to reduce the discomfort caused by weight-bearing.
Is there an obvious difference in how people respond to pain and stiffness?
You have to look a little closer in people with a stiff limp to see which joints aren’t moving. Knee stiffness is probably the easiest to spot, but a stiff hip is a little harder to notice because the hip relies more on pelvic rotation.
Knees, hips, what about ankles?
Most patients will externally rotate that foot, or their entire leg, so that the foot swings wide and points out, allowing them to roll over the inside of the foot instead of bending the ankle. A gait with a stiff ankle is also easy to spot.
How about weakness? That must be common in the elderly.
Muscle weakness is the third cause of limping in the elderly, which can be subtle and present in a variety of forms, often in conjunction with pain. A common example is someone with hip pain caused by inflammation of the fluid-filled sac on the side of the hip, known as the bursa.
Is there a nervous system component as well?
Damage to the perineal nerve causes some people to limp, which was first described in people with secondary syphilis, which is why syphilis was dubbed “the clap” in Victorian times and has since become a generic term for any venereal disease.
So much can go wrong. How can you fix these problems?
Non-painful limps can be investigated and treated more gradually. Weakness from a neurological injury cannot be corrected with exercise; instead, consider ankle braces or a custom-designed shoe that can support the foot.
Are there new ways to approach limping?
Orthopedic surgeon: Robotic assistance to spine surgery is a significant addition to our robust spine program, of which we have the largest center and only training center in the Midwest. New hip and knee replacements can replace just one side of the knee as well as total knee replacements.
What is causing me to limp?
Limping can be caused by a variety of injuries, including bone fractures, sprains, and strains, as well as arthritis and congenital malformations (birth defects). Limping can also be caused by conditions that affect the central nervous system, such as cerebral palsy.
How do you fix a limp when walking?
Such a limp can be successfully corrected by instructing the patient to walk with both knees stiff and step down on the heel first, similar to a military goose-step but done gently and in the manner of normal gait.
What does walking with a limp mean?
: to walk slowly and awkwardly as a result of a leg or foot injury. : to proceed slowly or with difficulty. limp. noun.
How do you cure a limp?
If the limping is caused by an injury or pain, it can usually be treated with rest, ice, crutches, or physical therapy; however, if the limping is caused by a neurologic condition, it will almost certainly require a doctor’s evaluation to determine the cause and the best treatment or therapy.
Why do I struggle to walk after sitting?
Sprains and strains are the most common causes of muscle stiffness, which can occur after exercise, hard physical work, or lifting weights, as well as after periods of inactivity, such as when you get out of bed in the morning or get out of a chair after sitting for a long time.
Can a growth spurt cause limping?
It’s also worth noting that growing pains affect muscles rather than joints, and they don’t result in limping or a fever.
What does it mean if your disguising a limp?
Limping is an asymmetric abnormality of gait caused by pain, weakness, neuromuscular imbalance, or a skeletal deformity.
Why do I feel uneven when I walk?
One of the most common reasons you feel uneven when you walk is that you are. What I mean is that you feel uneven because one leg is longer than the other, a condition known as “leg length discrepancy.”
Can arthritis cause you not to walk?
Arthritis in the hips, knees, ankles, or feet can make walking more difficult; here’s how to deal with these changes in your gait and stay mobile. Arthritis in the hips, knees, ankles, or feet can make walking more difficult; here’s how to deal with these changes in your gait and stay mobile.
Is having a limp a disability?
INJURIES CAUSING LIMP, SCARS, AMPUTATIONS, OR OTHER DISFIGUREMENTS ARE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION. Insurance companies are required to pay permanent disability benefits to an employee whose work injury has resulted in permanent pain, partial or complete loss of use of a body part, or other permanent symptoms.
Why do pimps walk with a limp?
Swaggering, also known as a jive-ass walk or pimp walk among African-Americans, is an ostentatious style of walking influenced by someone wishing to assert their dominance, as well as a form of machismo or sexual display that takes up more space than needed for simple motion.
What do you call someone with a limp?
Although it is an outdated and offensive term, the noun gimp is sometimes used to describe a limp or other physical disability.
What is it called when you can’t walk properly?
An abnormal gait is any unusual or uncontrollable change in normal walking pattern, and there are several types of gait abnormalities, including: Antalgic gait, also known as a limp, is the most common way people describe gait abnormalities.
Can you have a permanent limp?
A limp is a type of walking abnormality that can be either permanent or temporary.
Does arthritis make you limp?
Limping is common when rheumatoid arthritis affects the hips, knees, ankles, or feet; pain, loss of range of motion, and joint swelling can all cause a noticeable limp in a person with rheumatoid arthritis.