What is Waddling Gait?
Waddling Gait is a type of gait abnormality in which the affected patient walks like a duck. Walking like a duck means that when walking the part of the pelvis of the leg moving forward moves outward and the part of the leg which is normally placed moves inward. The reason for waddling gait abnormality is weakness of the proximal muscles of the pelvic girdle which causes weakness of the gluteus muscles. In order to overcome this weakness, the patient moves the upper body forwards and drags the lower leg forward.
What Causes Waddling Gait?
As stated, Waddling Gait is caused due to weakness of the muscles of the pelvic girdle. There are many conditions which may cause pelvic girdle weakness. Some of the medical conditions which can cause pelvic girdle weakness resulting in a Waddling Gait are:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Gluteal muscle atrophy
- Congenital hip dysplasia can also cause waddling gait
- Waddling gait can be caused due to pelvic fracture.
How is the Reason for Waddling Gait Diagnosed?
In order to identify the cause of a Waddling Gait, the treating physician will first take a history of the patient in order to rule out any trauma to the pelvic musculature like a slip and fall or a motor vehicle accident that may be causing the weakness of the pelvic muscles resulting in a Waddling Gait. Once history taking is complete, the physician will then conduct some tests in order to rule out muscle weakness due to myopathy or muscle dystrophy. Imaging studies in the form of an MRI or CT scan will also be done to rule out conditions like hip dysplasia as a cause for Waddling Gait.
What is the Treatment for Waddling Gait?
Treating the cause of the Waddling Gait is by far the most preferred treatment for Waddling Gait or for that matter any gait abnormality. Citing an example, if Waddling Gait is caused due to a pelvic fracture then the waddling gait will improve as and when the fracture heals. In some cases surgery may also be done to correct the alignment of the bone to treat waddling gait. Conditions like hip dysplasia can be corrected with surgery. Apart from treating the underlying cause, gait training exercises are also prescribed to get the gait back to normal. The exercises will be designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Yoga for Strengthening Pelvic Muscles
There are certain yoga exercises which can help strengthen the pelvic muscles and treat waddling gait. It should be noted here that these exercises should be started only after consulting with the physician and should not be done in case if there is pain or discomfort felt while doing these exercises. Some of these exercises are:
Setu Asana or Bridge Pose to Get Rid of Waddling Gait: This exercises benefits the muscles of the back and the pelvic muscles. In order to this exercise, you need to sit with legs straight. Now place the hands behind the body with the fingers pointing backwards. Now while taking in breath try and raise the upper body and pelvic area. The hands are used for supporting the body’s weight. Hand the head backwards for relaxing. Continue breathing and stay in this position as long as you feel comfortable. Breathe out and return back to starting position. You can do this two to three times a day.
Skandharasana or Shoulder Pose for Treating Waddling Gait: This exercise is also good for strengthening the back and pelvic muscles. To do this exercise, you need to lie on the back with the arms at the side. Now, bend the legs and hold the heels with the hands all the while placing the soles of feet on the floor. Breathing in, raise the body off of the floor as high as possible. The weight of the body is taken care of by the feet and the shoulders. Hold the breath and stay in this position as long as possible or as symptoms dictate. Now, exhale and come back to the starting position. You need to do this exercise two to three times a day.
The above exercises go a long way in helping strengthen the pelvic muscles. These exercises can be done once given a go ahead by the physician to get rid of Waddling Gait.