Unsteady gait


#1
I was diagnosed two weeks ago and told I am quite early, having problems mainly with stiffness and clumsiness of my right hand, and occasional tremor. The thing that is really starting to bother me though is a feeling of unsteady gait. It seems worse if i walk slowly and better if I stride and swing my arms more. I just started madopar and my hand is slightly better but my gait feels worse if anything. The neuro seemed to think my legs were ok. Reading about pd seems to suggest gait problems begin later rather than sooner. Does anyone have similar experience. Maybe I am just stressed out about dx, have kept it to myself for now. Thanks

#2
hello jakarta, as you have probably gathered by now, everyones experience of PD is different.. I think that I know what you mean by striding out. I hesitantly got going & once into my stride found it difficult to turn/stop. At first I found the tremor most bothersome, then the gait (probably because it was commented upon!) and now it is the muscle tension.
I found that initially the prescribed drug (in my case sinemet) helped with the tension but seemed to make my gait worse.It has since improved. My understanding is that this is common with levodopa drugs.
Welcome to the forum. Any specific queries re your medication, I suggest that you phone the helpline (No at top left of this page). A nurse will 'phone you back. They are informed, caring & nice

With best wishes

#3
Hi Jakarta

I was dx 2 and a half year ago and am still on much the same meds as at first. A few years before dx I occasionally tripped over nothing in particular always with the right foot (dropped foot one of the many PD symptoms) and 6 months before I had a car crash which brought everything to a head with tremors on the right side - I knew that my gait was not quite right especially at the end of a mornings ramble. I blamed my walking boots, the slow pace of the walk but deep down I knew something was wrong. I didn't feel unsteady but sort of clumsy footed although I'm pretty sure no one else noticed it just as it is not apparent to your neuro. In short,to put your mind at rest gait problems can show up early - at least in my experience.

#4
my post should read....six months before dx I had a crash

#5
thanks for your responses, living in jakarta indonesia there is hardly any supports, so this online forum is a bit of a lifeline at the moment. just had a week off in bali and found walking on sandy beaches seems to feel normal, on hard footpaths unsteady again. PD certainly is a strange disease...

#6
It certainly is a very strange disease. I wonder if perhaps you "bounced" on the sand? I know that in order to get upstairs, I find it easier if I try to bounce.( getting downstairs is a different matter - I tend to revert to my 2 year old self!) And when walking I find that if I exaggerate my movements it seems easier.

#7
Bali - lovely place, if a little smelly. Beautiful people,in all meanings of the word. Can't stand the music though except in small doses.
Sorry for the sidetrack.

perhaps a podiatrist might be of help - an soft insole to mimic sand? just a thought.

#8
your mention of podiatry prompted me to 'phone a practioner. A very nice man. I went off him a bit when he mentioned 68 euros for a home visit

#9
it seems as if walking more quickly or with more effort, like on sand, is steadier than ambling. good news is that the gait feels a bit steadier generally now, even on normal surfaces, not sure thanks to 3 weeks now of madopar or all that sand walking. i think i will go for as many walks as possible, on bali sand whenever possible, i guess it is bouncing to some extent.

yes Bali is both beautiful but smelly, the music, gamelan, is an acquired taste, it can do your head in at first, but now i can't get enough!

#10
Hi Jakarta, yes gait is a wierd thing, the thing on a hard flat surface is you do exactly the same movement over and over and if it's difficult, muscles gradually get tireder. Bouncing is actually helpful - if you can try a tiny boogying movement when walking i found it much easier. When I had terrible gait before meds I was still fine to walk something like a rocky causeway or a mountain track, but the nice, tarmac, flat path back to the car park was a killer. It sure is a wierd disease. Don't lose heart as lots can be done to help symptoms, medication and all sorts of complementary therapies can be amazing.

#11
Hi Jakarta,

Dr. Lisa Shulman, at the University of Maryland in the States, published in May a study on the impact of different exercises on gait for PDers. Basically three groups of exercisers, 1) walked 50 min 3x week, 2) did strength and stretching exercises 3x week, and 3) did jogging at 5-8 mph 20 to 30 min 3x week. Found the walkers improved their gait the most and cardio benefits also. The strength group were the only group to improve their UPDRS score, though. (means their overall PD symptoms lessened) So combination of daily walking and strength/stretching several times a week was my PD nurse's recommendation. Exercise has made a huge difference for me. Best wishes, Lin2