Immediate effects of speed-dependent treadmill training on gait parameters in early Parkinson’s disease

Author: Pohl, Marcus; Rockstroh, Gunter; Ruckriem, Stefan; Mrass, Gregor; Mehrholz, Jan

Description: OBJECTIVE: To compare the immediate effects of different training interventions on gait parameters in patients with early Parkinson’s disease (PD).

DESIGN: Randomized, multiple intervention crossover pilot study.

SETTING: A rehabilitation center for adult persons with neurologic disorders.

PARTICIPANTS: Seventeen patients with early PD (Hoehn and Yahr stages I through III) and gait disturbances.

INTERVENTION: Patients were randomly assigned to varying sequences of the following interventions over 4 consecutive days: structured speed-dependent treadmill training (STT), limited progressive treadmill training (LTT), conventional gait training (CGT), and a control intervention.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Basic gait parameters (overground walking speed and stride length at self-adapted speeds) and parameters of gait analysis based on vertical ground reaction forces.

RESULTS: STT and LTT improved all basic gait parameters and the double stance duration compared with preintervention values (P<.05). No changes were found after CGT and the control intervention (P<.05). Significantly higher gains were observed in all basic gait parameters after STT and LTT when compared with CGT and the control intervention (P<.05). Additionally, a greater reduction of double stance duration was found after STT than after the control intervention (P<.001). No significant differences in gains were observed between STT and LTT, or between CGT and the control intervention, in all gait parameters.

CONCLUSION: The main disturbances of gait in PD, namely, speed and stride length, can be improved through a single intervention of STT or LTT, but not through CGT and the control intervention.

Subject headings: Adaptation, Physiological; Adult; Aged; Cross-Over Studies; Female; Gait Disorders; Neurologic; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Parkinson Disease; Physical Therapy Modalities; Pilot Projects; Treatment Outcome

Publication year: 2003

Journal or book title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Volume: 84

Issue: 12

Pages: 1760-1766

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Serial number: 3283

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