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Abnormality of gait refers to an unusual walking pattern or style.

What's a Gait Abnormality?

There are many types of gait abnormalities. They can be caused by diseases of the central nervous system (such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis), or happen because of an injury or a problem in the brain, spinal cord, legs, feet, or inner ear.

Gait abnormalities are common in young children. In kids, common types of gait problems include in-toeing (when the feet turn inward) and out-toeing (when the feet turn outward). These aren't painful and often clear up on their own as kids grow. If they don't, a doctor may recommend special shoes, casts, or leg braces. Sometimes, doctors can fix the problem with surgery.

Physical therapy can help someone with a gait problem learn to walk more easily and safely. A walker or cane can help if someone has poor balance.

What Else Should I Know?

Gait problems can make kids trip and fall sometimes. This could cause an injury. Have kids move more slowly and make sure they have help when walking on uneven ground.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.