Gait Disorders



Apraxia is the inability to do learned movements. A person may have the desire and the physical ability to do the movements, but they cannot. There are many types.


This problem is caused by diseases or damage in the brain, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Brain tumor
  • Brain injury
  • Infection
  • Degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease and Huntington disease
si1213 97870 1 Ischemic Stroke.jpg
Stroke can cause brain damage, which can lead to apraxia.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who have had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) . Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Dialysis to take over the job of the kidneys when they fail



A person may have problems:

  • Copying movements or making signals when asked
  • Making facial movements, such as winking, whistling, or sticking out the tongue
  • Making the movements needed to speak
  • Making more than one movement at the same time
  • Making fine, exact movements with the hands or fingers, such as handling coins
  • Walking
  • Copying or drawing simple figures
  • Picking and using tools or objects the right way
  • Doing tasks in order
  • Dressing


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may be asked to do common tasks as part of the exam. A neuropsychological test may also be done to check brain function.

Images may be taken of the brain. This can be done with:

  • MRI scan
  • CT scan

A person's speech ability may also be tested.



The cause will need to be treated. The treatment for apraxia will depend on the type a person has. Choices are:

  • Physical therapy to help with movement
  • Occupational therapy to help with everyday tasks and self-care
  • Speech therapy to improve swallowing and speaking
  • Cognitive rehabilitation to help with brain function


There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem. The risk may be lowered by managing chronic health problems, such as high blood pressure.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Buccofacial Apraxia; Conceptual Apraxia; Constructional Apraxia; Gait Apraxia; Ideomotor Apraxia; Limb-Kinetic Apraxia; Movement Disorder; Orofacial Apraxia; Stroke Complications)


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke 


Health Canada 

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada 


Apraxia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Accessed January 22, 2021.

Apraxia of speech in adults. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: Accessed January 22, 2021.

Childhood apraxia of speech. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website. Available at: Accessed January 22, 2021.

Stroke rehabilitation in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed January 22, 2021.

Veterans Health Administration/Department of Defense (VA/DoD). Clinical practice guideline for the management of stroke rehabilitation. VA/DoD 2019, provider summary can be found at VA/DoD 2019, synopsis can be found in Ann Intern Med 2019 Dec 17;171(12):916.