The word, “ataxia”, comes from the Greek word, “a taxis” meaning “without order or incoordination”. The Medline plus Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary defines ataxia (a-tak-se-a) as, “An inability to coordinate muscular movements that is symptomatic of some nervous disorders.”

The word ataxia is often used to describe a symptom of incoordination which can be associated with infections, injuries, other diseases, or degenerative changes in the central nervous system. Ataxia is also used to denote a group of specific degenerative diseases of the nervous system called the hereditary and sporadic ataxias.