2. Department of Neurology, Geriatrics Research Institute and Hospital, Japan.
Background: Gait disturbance is major disturbance of Parkinson's disease (PD). Although continuous physical therapy (PT) has been demonstrated to improve gait disturbance and prevent falls among PD patients, few studies have reported on the immediate effect of PT. The aim of this study is to investigate the immediate effects of PT on gait parameters and joint kinematics in patients with PD.
Methods: Forty patients with idiopathic PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage 3–4) participated to the study. Participants were allocated to two groups: the intervention group participated in asingle 30-min PT session consisting of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, balance training and gait training; the control group rested for 30-min. Gait parameters and range of angular motion of the joints were assessed using a three-dimensional motion analysis system in all patients before and after the session. Differences in the mean scores before and after intervention were examined.
Results: Walking speed and step length were significantly improved after PT. The range of angular motion of the shoulder, elbow and knee joint were expanded after PT. There was a significant interaction effect for improved walking speed, step length, trunk forward inclination and range of angular motion of the joints between the two groups and before and after PT sessions.
Conclusions: PT confers immediate positive effects on gait parameters. Gait disturbance, the main disorder of PD, is expected to be improved by single session of PT.
Keywords: Parkinson's disease, physical therapy, gait disturbance, motion analysis