Antalgic gait refers to the posture or style of walking in order to avoid or reduce the pain on a weight-bearing structure, such as the ankle, hip or knee. As a result, a limp usually occurs when pain is experienced, due to the shortened phase of the gait when on the injured side.
The pain can be due to many causes such as diabetic foot, arthritis, joint or limb deformity, degenerative arthritis of the cervical spine (cervical spondylosis), trauma, gout, sciatica which then leads to the antalgic gait.
An easy way to picture an antalgic gait is to think of a person with a stone or sharp object in their shoe. When the person bears weight on that foot and pain is caused, he will try and reduce the pain by getting off it as quick as possible. So, the time in the discomforted or painful side is reduced, therefore, leading to a characteristic style of walking with uneven strides of different times.
Gait Disorder, Antalgic Gait And Biomechanics
It is important to recognize and be able to help in treating the underlying cause of the antalgic gait and its consequences. This is because, if the underlying cause is left untreated, the transfer of the weight onto a particular limb or part of the body will lead to an unstable alignment, increased shock and stress.