Mobility impairment is a common cause of disability in older persons. The etiology is often multiple, with medical illnesses that affect the musculoskeletal, neurologic, cardiac, and/or respiratory systems superimposed on aging-related changes in gait and balance. A detailed history on the onset, duration, nature, and course of the mobility impairment is helpful. Physical examination should focus on direct observation of gait and balance, while performance- based tests can quantify the abnormalities. Simple tests for assessing walking speed, endurance, and balance are available for both outpatient and inpatient settings. The management of mobility impairment requires a multifaceted interdisciplinary approach.
Key words: mobility, gait and balance, impairment, assessment, walk tests.