This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Where the contracture is not too great to prevent locomotion, the following symptoms appear: In flabby hemiplegia, or hysteria, the leg drags (helcopode). The sole of the foot drags or sweeps the ground; or the movement may be circular (helicopode), and the foot comes to the ground on the toes.
In flabby paraplegia the step is short, the legs are apart, and each limb is alternately dragged without clearing the ground. The hips incline and rotate while walking.
Paraplegia with contracture is marked by short and slow steps. It is difficult to lift the foot, and only the toes touch the ground. There is a tendency for the feet to cross each other; the knees touch, and the thighs are held close together. The body reels as in balancing. This gait is called "cross-legged progression."
In paralysis agitans there is the added feature of an irresistible propulsion, which gives the patient the appearance of falling forward. Those unacquainted with the gait will have a feeling that the patient is putting on, or otherwise he surely must fall; yet such patients will walk for blocks, pitching forward as though they must fall.
"Steppage" is the gait of tabes dorsalis. Paralysis of the extensor muscles, especially of the anterior and external muscles, of the leg allows the toes to drop. This necessitates the lifting of the leg high (a stringhalt lift), so as to swing the foot which hangs, and the toes strike the ground first.
There is a pseudo-tabes of alcoholic, lead, and other toxin poisoning. Its gait is different from that of locomotor ataxia. The latter gait is not from paralysis; there is lost power for coordination (directing movements). When such patients close their eyes, or undertake to walk in a dark room, they cannot take a step.
It requires a close observer to detect the early symptoms. In the early stages the patient is awkward in turning back abruptly or standing on one foot.
Combined sclerosis--namely, posterior and anterior lateral hardening of the cord-is known by spasmodic rigidity of the extremities and a tabes--spasmodic gait--an exaggerated tabes gait.
There is another incoordinate gait of mixed tabes dorsalis--namely, that of the drunk man--in which the patient straggles and strays from a straight course. He sways and staggers, regains his equilibrium, to again lose it and then reestablish it, etc. In this case the patient holds his arms extended in the manner of balancing. This gait should not be confounded with chorea.