Hello everyone! I am brand new to this site so thank you in advance for hearing me.

My father (age 78) has started falling - frequently. His legs just get suddenly weak and down he goes. Over the period of a month he has gone from walking on his own to having to use a walker. His gait is a shuffle. All results from MRI, EKG, bloodwork, CAT scans, etc. show nothing abnormal. His neurologist has recommended he see a neurosurgeon. He also had a B12 test of the results have not come back yet.

Has anyone experienced this firsthand? It's very odd and I feel badly for both him and my mother who is his primary caregiver. It is taking a toll on both of them. I don't live around the corner so it's creating stress on all of us, further compounded by the fact that their financial situation is not good.


I really wonder if something is getting lost in the communication between the doctors and your parents, or your parents and you; I wouldn't think people are sent to see a surgeon unless there is a need for surgery.

Thanks for the above advice from both. Part of me thinks some of this is the result of his sedentary lifestyle(no exercise, lots of sitting) that has come to haunt him. If you don't have much muscle you can't expect a lot later in life. I could be wrong.

My father is 10 years older than yours but also has the slow shuffling gait and very weak legs. He is very attached to a rollator for all walking. He’s had a number of falls and they seem to be on the increase. The difference I’d say between our situations is my dad’s came with time, over a few years, not the suddenness that you’re seeing. We also don’t have any real medical reason for it. We believe some of the shuffling is due to the fear of falling, trying to not pick up his feet somehow translates to him that it’ll lessen his chances of falling. We’ve seen many doctors and had much physical therapy for this. Back doing physical therapy now in fact. Sounds like you’re doing all the right things. You’ll probably want to add PT, Medicare is good about paying for it

His neurologist has recommended he see a neurosurgeon? Did the neurologist explain what for?

Does your father have any known health difficulties at all? None of the common things like hypertension, is he taking any medications?

My own experience of this kind of sudden 'my leg went funny' (I quote) phenomenon was with my mother, but she had a whole range of chronic disease as well as osteoarthritis. In any case I don't think it's a good idea to play guess the diagnosis on online forums, not least because nobody else's parent is going to be exactly like your parent.

But meanwhile... it's good that your father has a walker, especially if he is conscientious about using it? I think probably the best thing to do is encourage him to make friends with it so that he can at least avoid falls as far as possible, because that must be the greatest risk in the immediate future.

As a morale boosting exercise, if you look up "Fall Prevention Exercises" online, you'll find charts you can print off for your parents. Perhaps your father and mother could do these together, taking it very gently and making sure that your father has a strong, secure grab rail to hold onto. I'm not suggesting it will make a huge improvement to his balance or his leg strength, but at least it will help them stay mobile and give them something positive to do while they're waiting for a diagnosis.

Two points to help guide your mother (there's no way you can get to appointments to take notes and support them? - can't be helped if not).

#1 She might like to ask whether those results are normal as in normal, or normal as in what you would expect in a patient of your father's age and state of health.

#2 She can be firm with the doctors in asking them to explain their thinking - what do they suspect might be happening, and how can that be ruled out or confirmed.

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