When looking up some medical terms regarding crutch gait, I found a plethora of resources that detail the different ways how one can properly walk on crutches. One of this ways is the so called "Two-Point Gait". In this "mode", the patient always advances the foot with the crutch on the opposite side of the body.
Have a look at this video for a demonstration: https://youtu.be/qjukAMe3qJE?t=27

Just in case the link goes dead, let me try to illustrate it with a simple drawing (x foot with injury, > other foot, | crutch):

  |   |   |   |
x   x   x   x
  >   >   >   >
|   |   |   |

It does not really matter, but consider the walking direction from left to right.

Long story short, the question is:
Is there a special term for the walking pattern where a patient does the opposite of what is expected and basically puts foot and crutch of the same side forward at the same time?

Using the notation from above, that might look as follows:

|   |   |   |
x   x   x   x
  >   >   >   >
  |   |   |   |

I have heard some people (physiotherapists) refer to this as "Passgang" in German. According to my research, the direct translation is amble1,2, but the term seems to be primarily used for horses3 (or other animals with four legs) or as a term to describe relaxed walking3,4,5.


Prior to asking this question, I studied the following resources:

@MichaelHarvey, added https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-walk-safely-with-crutches-2696295 to the list. Thanks for that!

All these sites describe how to use crutches in various modes, but none of them matches what I'm looking for. My best guess would be, that what I'm looking for is an error on the patient's side, i.e. you would not want the patient to walk like this.

1 https://www.linguee.com/german-english/translation/Passgang.html
2 https://de.pons.com/%C3%BCbersetzung/deutsch-englisch/passgang
3 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/amble
4 https://www.lexico.com/definition/amble
5 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/amble

  • 6
    If there is, it will be specialist medical jargon. Jun 3, 2021 at 12:51
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because it is too specialised. Jun 3, 2021 at 13:18
  • Do we have a Medical SE or something similar? You can try your luck there. Jun 3, 2021 at 13:19
  • 1
    Off topic, but amusing: DeepL had a go at Passgang and turned it into passport aisle ;-) Good effort, DeepL!
    – TypeIA
    Jun 3, 2021 at 17:19
  • 1
    Nothing to do with crutches really has any word other than "gait" and they are all described using terms like two-point and three-point. Ergo, the likelihood there is a term for not using them correctly is close to nil. Not interested. I just want you to clarify your question, that's all. Also, ambling cannot be used here.
    – Lambie
    Jun 3, 2021 at 18:26

2 Answers 2


There are no non-medical terms for crutch gaits (that I, as a non-specialist, am aware of). For general four-leg gaits, your first is "trotting" and the second is "pacing. These apply particularly to horses, where some horses trot (moving diagonal legs at the same time) and some pace (moving both left legs at the same time, then both right legs).

An amble (in animal gaits) is a slower pace in which the animal moves Back-left, front-left, back-right, front-right. It is more stable, as there are always three points of contact with the ground.

It would be natural for the terms for four-legged animal locomotion to transfer to humans, when we use our arms with crutches as extra legs.

  • I find your arguments plausible. If that's what one would call it in English, I'm perfectly fine with it. I'm just want to wait a bit to see if something else comes up.
    – AlexV
    Jun 3, 2021 at 17:05
  • 3
    @AlexV I do not think any speaker without a detailed knowledge of equestrianism would have any idea what these technical terms mean (pace or trot).
    – mdewey
    Jun 3, 2021 at 17:24
  • People can amble too. However, not with crutches. He ambled down the street.
    – Lambie
    Jun 3, 2021 at 18:31
  • "Pace" quite a technical term in horse riding (though I'm aware of it as part of general knowledge. I know, for example, that camels tend to rock from side to side as they pace which makes them "ships of the desert". Amble is quite technical. But I think any native speaker would know "trot, canter, and gallop". These aren't technical at all.
    – James K
    Jun 3, 2021 at 18:46
  • 1
    @JamesK I too would expect most native speakers to know ‘trot’, ‘canter’, and ‘gallop’ — but I don't think many would associate them with specific gaits, only with rough speeds.
    – gidds
    Jun 3, 2021 at 22:08

Wild googling using different combinations of words suggested in the comments, the answer by @JamesK, together with "arm"/"leg"/"same side", and so on surfaced some references to namba (or nanba) walking, seemingly originating from Japanese culture, and also found in martial arts (demonstration at a TEDx talk). But I don't expect this term to be used in medicine.

There also seems to be scientific literature about it (e.g. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266794730_AN_ENERGY-EFFICIENT_LOCOMOTION_SAMURAI-INSPIRED_NAMBA_WALKING), though I cannot judge its reliability. The term ipsilateral movement was used there in the description of Figure 1. Obviously, crutches are not a topic in this paper, but at least from my non-medical perspective, something like ipsilateral crutch gait could work.

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