Ataxia is a lack of muscle coordination. It occurs when you move a muscle, for example when walking or chewing.
Ataxia may appear as clumsiness, inaccuracy, or instability. Muscle movements may look disjointed or jerky. Ataxia can affect any part of the body.
Ataxia can be hereditary or acquired. Ataxia occurs with damage to the cerebellum (back part of the brain). Sometimes ataxia can be a symptom of other medical conditions such as head injury, stroke, MS, tumors, etc.
Symptoms associated with the condition:
- A lack of coordination of hands, arms, and legs
- Slurring of speech
- Difficulty walking characterized by a wide base of support
- Difficulty with fine motor control such as writing and eating
- Slow eye movements
- Difficulty swallowing
Depending on the level of involvement, a physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy evaluation can assess deficits and symptoms associated with ataxia.
Common rehab treatment interventions:
Physical therapy will address gait safety, balance, and coordination.
Occupational therapy will focus on fine motor skills such as writing and activities of daily living.
Speech therapy will address speech quality, feeding, and swallowing.