Ataxia refers to an abnormal gait pattern due to lower extremity weakness, lack of lower extremity range of motion, and/or uncoordinated movements. Common ataxic gait patterns seen are slower cadence than expected for a person’s age, lateral trunk lean, hip circumduction, hip hiking, vaulting, and inadequate dorsiflexion control (“foot drop”). Each of these common ataxic gait patterns is characteristic of specific restrictions and weaknesses in the lower extremities. A full physical therapy evaluation will work to identify these areas and put together a plan of care in order to address any deficits.
The following is what your PT sessions might look like:
- 8-minute bicycle ride to warm-up musculature and increase circulation to prepare for exercise.
- Hip and lower extremity sustained stretching for mobility.
- Weight-bearing and seated therapeutic exercises designed to strengthen muscles of the hip, knee, ankle and foot.
- Balance activities to strengthen lower extremities, and to challenge proprioceptive and vestibular systems.
- Soft tissue mobilization to lower extremity musculature that have become tight and overactive.
- Electrical stimulation (similar to TENS) with an ice pack to help manage pain and inflammation.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.
If you or a loved one suffers from ataxia, please come see us for a free consultation to see how we can assist you in your recovery. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022