There are many, many factors that help determine whether a surgery is necessary or recommended. That goes for many elective procedures—not just gait abnormalities, which are variations in your walking pattern that cause you to “walk funny” or otherwise limp, stumble, or feel unsure on your feet. We have to consider not only the type of abnormality but also the cause of the problem, what conservative treatments might be available, how severe the abnormality is, how much it affects your day-to-day life, and other factors.
Take, for example, flat feet. Low or collapsed arches are associated with some gait abnormalities, particularly overpronation (feet that roll too far inward with each step) and pain throughout the ankles, knees, hips, and even lower back. At our office, we do perform a lot of corrective surgeries for flatfoot, and these have a high success rate in eliminating associated gait abnormalities. However, you may get good results from a non-surgical remedy, such as custom orthotic devices. Usually, we’ll try those first if we think they can help you.
However, there are many more types of gait abnormalities. Some stem from inherited structural deformities, like flat feet or unequal leg lengths. Others are caused by injury. Still others can be traced to progressive diseases (arthritis, multiple sclerosis, etc.) or inherited neurological disorders. The resultant gait abnormalities may take the form of limping, high-stepping, scissoring gait, waddling gait, knock knees, pigeon-toes—you get the idea.
The main thing to remember is that surgery is not always necessary, and whenever possible we’ll try to correct the issue through less invasive procedures. In addition to the aforementioned custom orthotics, these may include bracing, physical therapy, strengthening exercises, and the like. However, sometimes surgery really is the best way to improve your mobility, and help you achieve your daily tasks and enjoy your lifestyle.If you or someone you love is displaying an unusual walking pattern—especially one which is preventing them from normal activity—please book an appointment with Advanced Foot and Ankle in either Twin Falls or Burley, ID. You can call us anytime at (208) 731-6321 and we’ll get you scheduled as soon as possible.