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Handb Clin Neurol. 2012;103:623-34. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-51892-7.00045-0.

Balance and gait problems in the elderly.

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Stroke Service and Neurology Clinical Trials Unit, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Gait and balance problems are common with advancing age. Disorders of balance and gait are particularly important in the elderly because they compromise independence and contribute to the risk of falls and injury. Although they are considered as separate clinical entities, balance and gait disturbance are often intertwined. Here, we discuss the principal anatomical and physiologic mechanisms responsible for balance and gait. We also review the different types of fall patterns commonly seen in subjects and a classification scheme for various gait disorders. Furthermore, we consider the relationship between balance and gait disorders and subcortical vascular disease. Potential interventions and therapies in those individuals with balance and gait disorders are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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