Every day I'm shufflin' might be a good song lyric, but as a habitual walking style it can be a sign of illness as well as creating a greater risk of falls. Shuffling occurs when a person is dragging, or generally not lifting their feet off the ground when walking. Muscular loss that comes with the aging process is a common cause of shuffling. There are also a number of illnesses that can present with a shuffling gait, top among them are Alzheimers and Parkinson's. If you think that your loved one is at risk for either of these, it is time to get them in to see their doctor to be evaluated, but no mater the cause of shuffling, exercise based therapy can help.
Not treated properly, shuffling can lead to loss of balance, decreased range of motion, decreased confidence, and ultimately, interrupt activities of daily living . To avoid this, a kinesiologist seeing a shuffling gate, would keep the person moving with a personalized exercise plan. One example of an exercise that a kinesiologist might recommend is the agility ladder.
The agility ladder improves eye and foot motor coordination. Coordination exercises involve internal and external processing that trains proprioception, balance and timing. Motor coordination is necessary to perform simple and complex tasks such as shopping, cleaning and climbing stairs. Opening a jar may seem like an easy task, but when you look at the hand and eye movements involved, it becomes apparent that this task requires complex concentration and coordination. This is true for the simple act of walking as well.
To use the agility ladder, one must practice lifting his/her foot and placing it in the open area of the ladder. These drills are effective tools for increasing rhythm, agility, speed, balance, and body control throughout the many movements. Each person's exact regime would depend on his/her abilities to begin with, but can be applied to anyone at any age
Other things you can do to help yourself or a loved one with a shuffling gait;
Get vision tested.
Remove area rugs and clutter from pathways.
Make sure shoes fit well and have soles that are neither too slick nor too rigid. Some sport shoes actually contribute to falls because wearers can't sufficiently lift their feet.
Notice this pattern in your everyday life? Give Reneu Health Inc. a call and schedule your FREE consultation today!
We are a team of experienced clinical kinesiologists who specialize in preventive and rehabilitative exercise for seniors. We believe that aging is part of a beautiful journey and everyone deserves to live their best life. We understand that as our bodies get older, it doesn’t function the same. As some see this as a limitation, we see it as an opportunity. With the right mindset, knowledge, tools and support we help improve quality of life, slow the progression of certain conditions and help you take control of your health.
Call us today for a free consultation. San Diego 619.263.0329 or Orange County 949.245.6239.