Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Balance

Font Size

Just Clumsy, or Something Serious?

Experts explain when being clumsy is a sign of medical trouble, or just plain klutziness.
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

We've all done a pretty good impression of Inspector Clousseau at one time or another. Knocking over coffee cups, dropping keys, tripping over rugs -- sometimes life feels like a slapstick comedy, and you're the star.

Can klutziness be cured? If episodes of clumsiness happen more frequently, how can you tell if it's something serious -- or just a temporary case of the fumbles? Our experts tell us what to look for (and not trip over) as we explore this common problem.

Coordination: An Overview

As clumsy as you may feel, you're more coordinated than you think. It takes a genuine miracle of synchronized muscles, bones, and nerves just to get up and walk across the room.

"Coordination of the body is an extremely complicated process that involves input from both motor and sensory systems," explains Taylor Harrison, MD, clinical instructor in the neuromuscular division of the Emory University department of neurology in Atlanta.

Here's how our body parts work together:

  • Our eyes provide a constant stream of information about our surroundings and our position in space.
  • The brain and nerves are our command-and-control "wiring," carrying the messages on how and where to move down to the muscles.
  • The cerebellum is the part of the brain that specializes in coordination and balance. About the size of an orange, it's located under the brain at the back of the head. The cerebellum "talks" constantly to other parts of the brain to maintain balance, posture, and fluid movements.
  • Muscles and bones carry out the instructions transmitted by nerves, creating movement.

Normally these systems work together, playing off each other like an orchestra performing a symphony in perfect tune. "Problems in any of these areas may give rise to problems with coordination," says Harrison. Some of the most common culprits are:

All of these causes of clumsiness can be treated or reversed completely, so it's important to eliminate them as possible contributors. Your doctor can help you with this.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
Take your medication
Hand appearing to hold the sun
Hungover man
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Woman worn out on couch
Happy and sad faces
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
laughing family