Festinating Gait

Festinating Gait: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Festinating gait is the complication that can make your daily walking complicated. You need to walk from one place to another to get things, perform daily duties, and enhance overall health. Though walking sounds very simple, it really is not. It is the complicated aspect that involves the proper functioning of the nervous system, cardiorespiratory system, and musculoskeletal device in your body. Gait is not just the style of your walking, it is also your habit. So, your gait is entirely dependent on your mood, age, and personality. But, many people have the gait and balance disorders that affect the mobility.

The problems with the gait increase with the age. Therefore, people between the ages of 60 and 70 can feel the complications mildly. As the age increases the severity of the gait problem increases. With the gait problem, the quality of life gets affected negatively. Subsequently, your self-esteem and the feeling of freedom gets damages. Not only it affects your self-confidence, but it can also cause injuries. Many elderly people have the gait and balance issues. So, it leads to the tripping and falling causing injuries that may prove fatal. So, let us delve deep into the issue of festinating gait to learn more about it.

What Is Festinating Gait?

Are you having problems while walking? If you feel uncontrolled stiffness when you walk, then it may point to festinating gait. People suffering from the issue can walk quickly, but have a problem stopping. It is just like a vehicle running without good brakes. So, you can start walking and find it difficult to stop at your heart’s will. When you have the gait disorder, you can see that your entire foot is on the ground while walking. In some of the severe cases, it becomes difficult for people to move their leg off the ground. It feels like the feet is glued to the ground. So, you might take some time before taking the foot off the ground. It is more visible when you try to resume walking after taking rest. Festinating gait is a condition that is more apparent in patients suffering from the Parkinson disease.

Causes Of Festinating Gait

The main and root cause of Festinating Gait is Parkinson’s disease. It is the degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system. It primarily affects your motor system. Subsequently, Parkinson’s disease leads to the damaging of the basal ganglia. It is responsible for the movement control in your body. Therefore, the disease can lead to impaired movement.

Symptoms Of Festinating Gait

Patients suffering from the Parkinson’s disease can expect the festinating gait complication in their life. So, the complication comes with the following symptoms:

  • You need to focus on the walking to detect if festinating gait is affecting your life. You may feel tautness in your walking manner along with the shuffling walk.
  • The main issue with the complication is the problem you may have while ceasing to walk. You may start your walking rapidly, but find it difficult to stop according to your will.
  • With the gait issue, your heel strikes the ground first. In normal cases, your toes come in contact with the ground first.
  • The heel-to-toe pattern is the normal walking pattern of a person. With the gait issue, your walking pattern reverses. So, you follow a toe-to-heel pattern in the advanced cases. The foot lands flat on the ground.
  • Parkinson’s disease can limit the ground reaction force. So, you will exhibit only one peak when you walk upright. In normal cases, it is two peaks.
  • Patients suffering from the complication feel their foot getting stuck to the ground for few seconds. Hence, you take time to lift your foot to resume walking after stopping.
  • It is an issue that is more visible after you take rest for some time and start walking again. Therefore, you need to observe your walking pattern closely. It will help you understand if you have a problem or not.

In case you suspect an issue, get medical help. Your doctor can provide further assistance to eliminate the complication.

Diagnosis Of Festinating Gait

If you see any of the symptoms above, you need to seek an appointment from your doctor. The festinating gait comes under the orthopedic and neurological field of medicine. So, you need to undergo the neurological as well as orthopedic examination. It will help your doctor come to the precise conclusion and take necessary action. The following diagnostic procedures can determine if you have the complication or not:

Electromyography (EMG)

Your doctor can suggest the EMG diagnostic test that uses one or more needles to measure the muscle response. The small needles also are known as electrodes can detect the neuromuscular abnormalities by checking the electrical activity or muscle response to the nerve stimulation. The electrodes get into your skin to reach the muscles. Therefore, it can check the normalcy of your leg muscles. The decline of movement in your legs is detected by checking the tibia and triceps muscles movement. It helps to detect the issues with movement due to festinating gait.

Patient’s History

Parkinson’s disease can cause the problem. Therefore, the doctor may check your medical history and the background. It helps shed light on the probability to get Parkinson’s disease. The monitoring of the prior symptoms of ailments gives a better idea.

Scrutinizing Gait

The doctor scrutinizes the gait closely to detect the complication of festinating gait. You need to walk in an even line to check for complication. It comprises of three phases:

Stance Phase

Your gait cycle is known as the stride and has two phases. One of them is the stance phase. During the stance phase, your foot comes in contact with the ground. So, your doctor checks the stance phase closely. Your one foot, as well as a leg, carries all weight of your torso. Hence, your doctor monitors the complications closely.

Swing Phase

The opposite foot carries the load of the whole body. While the foot being monitored stays on the ground. It is the phase that comprises 60% of your normal walking cycle. The foot that carries the weight or in the air is referred to as the swing phase.

Double Support Phase

During the double support phase, both your legs stay on the surface or the ground simultaneously for some time. Hence, your body weight is supported by your legs at the same time.

Treatment For Festinating Gait

Festinating gait develops at the later stage of the Parkinson’s disease. It does not have a direct impact on your life. But, the quality of your life gets impacted negatively. You will find it difficult to walk properly. Subsequently, you have to take small steps to walk. In some cases, muscle injuries or neurological issues can lead to a change in gait. So, your doctor finds the actual issue causing the problem. After getting diagnosed for the issue, your doctor can adopt the following treatment options.


Dopamine deficiency can cause festinating gait. So, your doctor can prescribe for the medication called Levodopa. The medication aids in reactivating the signals from the brain’s dopamine neurotransmitters. The depletion of the dopamine neurotransmitter results in the festinating gait. Levodopa is effective in replenishing it.

It is combined with another medication called carbidopa for better effects. Hence, it stops the body from breaking down the Levodopa. The medication reaches the brain to successfully treat the problem. Subsequently, the medication is successful in patient’s suffering from Parkinson’s disease. It overcomes the rigidity of gait as well as the significant swaying.

Deep Brain Stimulation


It is another technique that is effective for festinating gait. Patients who show no improvement with the Levodopa (L-dopa) opt for the treatment for better results. So, the deep brain stimulation is effective in such cases. Small wires are used for stimulating the parts of the brain that control your body movement. The device connected with the wires provides continuous electric pulses. The electrical pulses work like the pacemaker used in the heart. The frequent stimulation can freeze the gain issue.

Physical Therapy

physical therapy

Physical therapy is highly effective for people who suffer from festinating gait. Your physical therapist can teach your some gait training exercises. It will help people affected with gait problems to take caution while walking. Subsequently, you can avoid any injuries or falls during walking. The coaching will guide the patients with the necessary drills to prevent tripping or accidents.


It refers to the spastic, extreme muscular tension. It is one of the causes of the festination gait. Getting treatment for the condition can bring a radical change in the festination gait. The following medication can cure the symptoms:

  • Diazepam
  • Dantrolene
  • Baclofen

The medications and physical therapy may not work well for other Parkinson’s disease symptoms. But, it is effective to treat specific symptoms like festinating gait. So, it will help you get back your mobility to an extent.

Physical Exercise To Overcome Festinating Gait

Exercises increase the blood flow and help the oxygenated blood reach all the organs. It also helps the patients affected by festinating gait. It helps devise an effective walking strategy that will work well to overcome the gait problems. The easy to include exercises can offer the most benefits to you. You can do it at home to get the maximum strength to the lower body. Therefore, you can include the following in your routine according to your convenience.

Music Cues (Metronome)

Have you heard that music can heal your body of ailments? Music therapy is gaining popularity as it has the power to overcome the mental block and stimulate your brain. Hence, you can overcome the gait issues by walking to a music or beat. It can reduce the shuffling. So, you can effectively reduce freezing of gait. It also enhances the walking speed. You can try it for a few times a week by walking for just 30 minutes per day.

Walking Visualization

Visualization the walking session in your mind is very effective. It will help you plan about taking long strides and rehearsing the walking in detail. So, you can channel your focus completely on walking according to the plan. It activates the parts of the brain that associates with the walking like basal ganglia. Subsequently, it compensates the low levels of the dopamine levels with the visualization.

Tai Chi

The Chinese practice is highly beneficial for your health. The exercises focus on aligning your posture. It also enhances your coordination and stability. Therefore, it is perfect for older people who are prone to falling. The comprehensive overview of Tai Chi published in 2011 points to the effectiveness of the method by providing the physical and psychological benefits.

Exercises Enhancing Flexibility

You can improve your range of motions and flexibility with some exercises. It also improves your gait. Including the exercises in your daily routine can reduce the rigidity you feel while walking. Therefore, the easy to perform exercises can help overcome the festinating gait.

  • You just need a chair for the physical exercise. You need to sit on the chair and bend the upper body. First bend it at waist level to the right, then to the left. Repeat it.
  • The next exercise requires you to get on all fours. Then, turn your upper body to the right first and left next. You need to lift the arm on the side that you turn.

Strength Training Exercise

The lower body strength training is effective to make your legs more functional. It will help your gait as it can improve the balance. By incorporating the exercises, you can walk more distance without many complications. It also increases your walking speed. You can include the following exercises in your daily routine:

Leg Presses


It is the weight training exercise that strengthens your legs. You need to push a weight while sitting down away from your body. Using your legs for the exercise can assist in evaluating the lower body strength.



Squats is a wonderful exercise that helps with the lower body strength. You need to stand in an upright position. Make sure you stand with your legs slightly wider than your hip distance. Push your glute muscles back by bending the knees. Ensure your knees never come over the toes. Some people have difficulty doing squats. So, holding on to something will make it easier. If it is difficult, just go down for few inches.

Exercise Bike

Strengthen the legs with the stationary exercise bike. Access the recumbent bike that helps you lean. You must have the legs straight to perform the exercise.  So, you can overcome the gait issues by strengthening the legs.

Sit And Rise


Do you want to try exercises without any equipment? Then, the repeated motions of sitting and standing can help you overcome the festinating gait. With just a chair, you can strengthen your leg as well as core muscles. So, sit in and rise from the chair repeatedly. It is one of functional activity that can help your gait.


Mobility issues can hold you back from enjoying your life to fullest. The gait complications will instill fear of falling down. It also decreases your quality of life. Therefore, you need to get medical assistance as soon as possible. It will help you overcome the walking to a great extent and enhance your walking speed. Hence, never ignore the symptoms of festinating gait. Take medical help immediately to get ideal treatment to lower the complications.

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