Physical therapist joins interdisciplinary team

Jeffrey Hoder, PT, DPT, NCS has joined the Center’s interdisciplinary team, focusing on the evaluation of conditioning, balance, coordination and motor skills. Dr. Hoder’s assessment is part of the Center’s interdisciplinary evaluation and clinical care program addressing the needs of individuals and families affected by movement disorders.

Many forms of movement disorders begin gradually, with everyday activities slowly becoming more difficult or bothersome, often prior to an individual receiving a firm diagnosis. Although most movement disorders are not immediately life threatening, they can threaten a person’s quality of life.

Problems with walking and balance are quite common and a significant cause of reduced quality of life and independence in individuals with movement disorders¹. Walking disorders and imbalance can directly lead to falls, with falls being one of the most debilitating consequences of a gait disorder²’³. It is frequently difficult to distinguish if the fall or the gait disorder came firstˆ. Additionally, developing a fear of falls, following either a fall or merely a loss of balance, can result in a person choosing to do less, leading to a decline in mobility, and ultimately limiting independence. This can lead to disuse and immobility, which further contributes to imbalance and thus, leads to more falls. This vicious cycle needs to be broken.

It is well established that fall risk reduction is a multifactorial process, involving reviewing medications, balance and gait assessment, musculoskeletal assessment, reduction of home hazards and cardiovascular assessment. The Movement Disorders Society recommends a thorough evaluation of gait and balance, as part of a fall risk assessment, to be included in a defined standard of care. A walking and balance evaluation can help to document or identify subtle changes over time and more accurately describe the therapeutic effects of medications or surgery.¹

It becomes extremely pressing to evaluate one’s gait and balance by a trained physical therapist over the course of a disease in order to address issues proactively and not just reactively following a significant fall or injury. This is just one piece of the puzzle. We invite you to be evaluated by our interdisciplinary team of experts.

To make an appointment with one of our movement disorders neurologists for initial evaluation, call (804) 662-9185. If you are already a Center patient, please contact your neurologist to discuss how gait and balance evaluation fits into your plan.

Learn more about our interdisciplinary evaluation.

Your continued support provides physical therapy and other important services to the movement disorders community.  You can directly impact the lives of those with these diseases by giving online today. To learn more about ways you can support this or other Center programs, please contact Andrea Perseghin, (804) 828-3747.

¹The Movement Disorders Society,, accessed April 12, 2012.
²Tinetti ME, Speechley M, Ginter GF. Risk factors for falls among elderly persons living in the community. N Engl J Med 1988;319:1701-1707.
³Lipsitz LA, Jonsson PV, Kelley MM et al. Causes and correlates of recurrent falls in ambulatory frail elderly. J Gerontol 1991;46:M114-122.
ˆAlexander NB. Gait disorders in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996; 44(4): 434-51.

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About aperseghin

Andrea Perseghin is the Associate Director for Education and Outreach at the VCU PMDC. She manages all of the educational programming for the center -- and is lost without her iPhone alerts.

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