Gait Training

Many of the motor symptoms that people living with Parkinson’s Disease experience can be primarily attributed to low levels of dopamine in the region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia. This region of the brain is responsible for unconscious rhythmic movement. The most common unconscious rhythmic activity performed by humans is walking, also referred to as gait. People with Parkinson’s experience several deficits in gait including decreased stride length, walking “flat footed”, increased time in double leg support and decreased arm swing. Although these deficits can result in a drastic decrease in mobility and independence, they can be overcome with proper training. People with Parkinson’s Disease lack “auto pilot”; however, when they perform a high number of uninterrupted repetitions of drills utilizing visual cues and verbal coaching the brain bypasses the circuitry damaged in PD, rerouting the signals to walk through the visual and auditory centers of the brain. We use this training strategy both on the ground and during treadmill walking.

Gait Training Parkinson's Disease Visual Cues

Visual cues are used in ground based gait training to allow regions of the brain not damaged in Parkinson’s to partially take over the responsibility of walking from the regions affected by the disease.

Treadmill Gait Training Parkinson's Disease Rehabilitation Cincinnati

The region of the brain damaged in Parkinson’s is responsible for unconscious, rhythmic motor activity. With proper coaching, walking at a constant speed on the treadmill helps to reestablish this rhythm.

Gait Training Parkinson's Disease Visual Cues