Thursday, October 26, 2023

Waddle Walking - Trendelenburg Gait

What makes people walk this way?

Living on Old People Island, you see a lot of decrepitude.  But then again, when we leave the island to go to Walmart, well, you see a lot of young decrepitude.  One thing I have learned over 60 years is, well, two things.  First, you never get back all the time you wasted watching re-runs of sitcoms (or today, reality shows).  Second, every soda-pop you ever consumed never really leaves your body.  Over time, you will get heavier, unless you are proactive.  Look at the photos of older celebrities - unless they get really skinny like old cats, they puff up and get fat.

And that is tragic, but it happens by age 40 or so - the middle-aged middle-bulge.  But what is really tragic is when you see young people who are morbidly obese in their 20's - or even teens!  Or even in the single digits.  I mean, where are you going from here, if you are 300lbs by age 18?  Life will be a world of woe, loneliness and pain, particularly in the back and knees.

We see people doing this "Wobble Walk" or "Waddle Walk" these days, and it is painful to watch.  Rather than lift their legs and move them forward one after the other, these folks walk like infants just learning to walk.  Their legs are immobile pylons which they lift, one at a time, with their back.  This creates a slow, painful gait where they "Wobble" from side to side, as they use their upper body to lift each leg in sequence.

Turns out, there is a name for this - Trendelenburg gait.  Apparently it can be caused by a number of factors, including nerve issues and muscle deterioration.  Some argue it may be also caused by hip and knee joint degradation - and the waddle-walk is a way of avoiding pain.  All I know is, it seems to be getting more and more popular these days - legions of people walking like zombies.

In some instances, the person favors only one side, but in many cases I've seen, people seem to do this with both legs.  The legs stay straight, and the upper body tilts to one side, to raise the leg on the other side.  The person then swings the leg, like so much dead meat, forward, and then lets it down by tilting back.  The process is repeated for the other side.  It is sort of like how zombies are depicted walking on television and in the movies.

And this can happen to anyone.  My massage therapist noticed that I tended to "lean" to one side while standing, and when he pointed this out, I was sort of floored by it.  I try to do exercises and make a conscious effort when walking to not "wobble walk" but instead lift my legs and use my leg muscles to move the legs forward - not side-to-side.

Many folks, I think, don't realize they are doing this and once you go down the road of wobble-walking, well, it ain't gonna get better without some sort of intervention.

And of course, for some folks, it isn't possible to get better - if you have an injury for example, or some sort of muscle disease or deterioration.  Waddle-walking, for such folks, is better than no walking at all.

But I think for others, it results from lack of exercise and lack of walking - too much riding around in cars and such.  Most truckers seem to do this waddle-walk when you see them after climbing down from their cabs after a long drive.  The legs fall asleep, sort of, and it takes a while for the muscles to remember how to work again.

All I know is, I want to avoid the waddle-walk, for as long as I can!