Gait disorders (the leading cause of falls in the elderly) are often overlooked, yet they frequently signal a serious underlying disorder of the musculoskeletal, nervous, or cardiovascular system. Diseases of the peripheral nervous system, such as peripheral neuropathy, are associated with an ataxic gait; those involving the peripheral motor system, such as degenerative joint diseases, lead to antalgic gait changes. Middle sensorimotor level disorders such as Parkinson's disease cause subtle changes - for example, a narrower gait - that are easily overlooked. The most frequently missed high sensorimotor level disease is normal-pressure hydrocephalus, which may be signaled by an apraxic gait. Several simple office-based tests of gait and balance, such as the 'get up and go' test, can help you spot the earliest manifestations of these serious conditions.