Chiropractic Knowledge / What’s Causing Your High Steppage Gait?

Symptom, Not Problem – What’s Causing Your High Steppage Gait?

Last updated: December 21, 2023 | Author: Dr. Samantha Coleman

Perhaps it’s a recent change you’ve had to adjust to, or maybe it’s something you’ve done for as long as you can remember: Having a high steppage gait, or an exaggerated step to pull your foot off the ground, is definitely not normal, but it can become second nature for people in time.

What's Causing Your High Steppage Gait?

People who don’t have a high steppage gait may think that this method of walking is due to a problem with your walking pattern. However, the reality is that high steppage gait is just one symptom of an issue called drop foot, which is actually a symptom of a larger issue itself.

At ChiroSolutions Center in Virginia Beach, VA, we frequently meet with patients who have a high steppage gait and don’t think anything of it. Investigating this exaggerated movement and treating its underlying cause may solve more problems than you’d think.

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High steppage gait and drop foot

A lot of people who develop a high steppage gait don’t even notice they do it after some time – the mode of walking becomes their new normal. But have you ever wondered what causes it to begin with?

As it turns out, a high steppage gait is merely a way to compensate for a larger problem within the foot and ankle. People experiencing drop foot, or foot drop, have a hard time lifting or twisting their foot at the ankle or pointing their toes. Thus, when they walk, their toes may drag on the ground, causing them to stumble, trip, and possibly fall.

High steppage gait and drop foot

To alleviate this problem, you may have developed a very high step to your walk, where you lift your foot completely off the ground, almost as if you’re climbing stairs, to ensure your foot does not drag. It is one of the most common symptoms of foot drop. Unfortunately, continuing to use this high steppage gait could pose some safety risks and may even lead to injury because of overexertion in your hips and back.

Drop foot is a symptom, too

Drop foot may be the reason for your abnormally high steppage gait, but it is also a symptom of a larger problem. Foot drop is caused by an underlying issue that affects the nerves and/or muscles in the legs, ankle, and foot, resulting in a lack of ankle mobility. Its other symptoms may include foot pain, numbness, or tingling.

Drop foot may be rooted in damage to the nerves in the lumbar spine, compression of a nerve due to disc herniation or spinal stenosis, or weakened muscles in the leg and foot. You may need to undergo multiple tests to determine the problem behind the weakness. Treatment for your high steppage gait and foot drop will ultimately depend on this core problem. Foot and ankle braces, physical therapy, and chiropractic may all be useful in alleviating the issue by addressing the underlying cause.


If you have a high steppage gait, don’t delay in addressing it. Contact the spinal experts in Virginia Beach, VA at ChiroSolutions Center for a consultation. A diagnosis and treatment plan using our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) techniques may help solve the problem and eliminate your steppage gait entirely, so you can walk normally again.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained Virginia Beach chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.

Dr Samantha Coleman Chiropractor

She is the only Advanced Certified CBP Chiropractor in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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