Difficulty walking but *not* parkinsons - what could it be?

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My grandmother has serious difficulty walking, only being able to make small, shuffling steps with a walker and when someone is holding her. She was originally diagnoised with parkinsons, but lacked other symptoms like tremors, cognitive issues, etc and did not respond to levodopa. MRI and not responding to treatment ruled out Parkinsons, but doctors are unsure what she has. What could cause the symotoms and the trouble with walking?

Specificially, she cannot balance standing upright and most hold on to something. When walking, she can only make small shuffling steps, she sometimes fails to lift her feet off the floor. She can move her leg fine when sitting or laying down. She also feels heavy pain.

This has been leaving all of us confused as a lot of conditions (like Parkinsons) have been ruled out, but.. what could it be?

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  • Posted


    get her to see a neurologist again. 

    My father in law prescribed with then told two years later not. 

    Now they think Parkinsonism. 

    You can get misdiagnosed. Lots do. Get second opinion. 

    Go with her . My mother had parkinsons never had tremors. 

    But they took her in for a day gave her a parkinsons drug and observed she responded walking normally etc..

    she may have it. 

    Hope that helps 


    • Posted

      thanks sally! she has been perscribed with a parkinsons drug (levodopa) and there was no improvement for nearly two months, even after increasing doses. that made the doctor doubt it's parkinsons along with the MRI
    • Posted

      Hi Andrew 

      some people don't respond to the drugs. Which is sad ...

      I would get her looked at again. 

      Has she lost her sense of smell? Has her handwriting got small does she start large and end up tiny. If she is holding something say a apple and u hand her a cup can she take it or does she look confused? 

      All symptoms of parkinsons. 

      If you can get a parkinsons nurse to look at her they are real experts with drugs with symptoms. Etc ... Even if you ring there help number and have a chat about your grandmother. 

      They are better than gps by far and they do advice the specialists too. 

      I hope you get to the bottom as the right drug can reverse the symptoms . My mum stopped shuffling started writing again got back to normal for about 4 years then it worsened and more drugs she improved again. To the end of her life she could walk , feed herself chat away etc. she did have severe parkinsons and needed nursing care but she still enjoyed life ... Keep on fighting for her she shouldn't be suffering ... 


  • Posted

    This, I am sure, is a mystery for you.  My husband also takes small steps and shuffled along, not being able to lift his right foot.  This started several years ago and so did the shaking of one hand.  Then started with balance problems and periods of confusion. His physician just kept saying it was age, but when he had to see another doctor for a blood disorder, that doctor recognized and suspected parkinsons and sent him to a Neurologist (6 months ago). Neurologist did an MRI which showed brain cells affected and diagnosed parkinsons.  He has just recently started carb/levodopa and has had bad side effects but those are lessening now.  He is going to physical therapy for the walking and balance problem.  Do you think that might help your grandmother?  I know it is frustrating when you can see a problem and no one can figure out what it is or how to help.
  • Posted

    Some Brief concept about Parkinson’s disease:

    Parkinson’s disease is a chronic progressive movement disorder it associates and attacks brain cells called neurons  especial neurons of part brain part called substantia nigra , these dying neurons produce dopamine ( chemical neuro transmitter controls coordination &  movement). As the amount of the dopamine of the brain decrease person unable to control movement.

    Symptoms that individual Experience:

    1-      Tremor of the hands arms legs , jaw , and  face

    2-      Bradykinesia  or slowness of movement

    3-      Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk

    4-      Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

    This disease perfect medication of it is unknown and also their cause.

    Clinical Research about Parkinson’s disease:

    Scientists are exploring the idea that loss of cells in other areas of the brain and body contribute to Parkinson’s. For example, researchers have discovered that the hallmark sign of Parkinson’s disease — clumps of a protein alpha-synuclein, which are also called Lewy Bodies — are found not only in the mid-brain but also in the brain stem and the olfactory bulb. Also Researchers recently studies made found that dopamine can be made by culturing stem cells in the laboratory then the cultured dopamine put the patient’s brain. This new method but it is helpful treatment Parkinson’s disease.

    Receiver Opinion:

    What in my opinion this condition is: The symptoms tremors may appear for this case if it is not appear early it comes later time, still the disease is in dormancy stage, sometimes drug not interact full effective with the disease. The second one in my opinion is May their some damage problem comes out other faculties of the brain after the Parkinson suffered and effected because this disease is distributive disease not effect in one part but can spread other parts.

     I give you some advices to follow it:

    1-      Go to the doctor neurology expert Parkinson disease immediately

    2-      Check  again completely Parkinson signs and symptoms

    3-      Eat balance because diet sometimes more crucial than the dosage through combat of the disease

    4-      Make brain radiology CT scan analysis immediately to check brain fields.

  • Posted

    Melvin died on Nov. 13, 2014.  He was diagnosed 6 months prior with early stages of parkinsons, was put on carbo/levodopa, but kept getting in worse shape instead of better so med. stopped.  He complained with pain in his chest and back and shortness of breath and had x-rays on 9/5 and again on 11/07 with neither showing any abnormality.  Then on 11/12 he was taken to the E.R. and we learned his left lung had collapsed due to non small cell bronchogenic carcinoma.  It was inoperable and due to lack of oxygen to his lungs, radiation was not a choice.  He died the next day.  I am left wondering if he ever had parkinsons or did he really have the early stages and the doctors got tunnel vision and failed to recognize the cancer symptoms.

    Shelby, Widow of Melvin

    • Posted

      My dear Shelby

      so so sorry. It sounds like he did have Parkinsons but that they missed the cancer because they focused on the parkinsons. 

      Iosing a loved one is horrendous whether sudden as you have had or expected as I had with my mother with parkinsons. 

      My only words of comfort are that the parkinsons would have affected him very much like Alzeimers gradually taking him away . And yes you would of been prepared for his death but you would of been wishing it because his dignity his quality of life would of gone. Then like me you would of felt guilt that after living with and caring for them for years you were releaved when they died. And are desperately trying to forgot the last 4 years and remember the years before when my mum was my mum ... 

      You had your husband torn away from you and you are reeling angry etc ....both scenarios are horrid . 

      Grief is tough anger is part of it , guilt is too  hang in their I am 6 months on and it's getting bearable . 

      Thinking of you 



  • Posted

    Has she been tested for NPH (Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus)?  I know someone that started off like your grandmother and wound up being wheelchair bound because of being misdiagnosed with Parkinson's.  Turned out that they had NPH all along.  A shunt was put in, and now walking, jogging, running.  Go to youtube and type in Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, or misdiagnosed with Parkinson's or something like that and watch the videos.  That's what we did.  Good luck!

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