People with Parkinson disease (PD) stepped furthest in the forward direction when performing the Maximum Step Length Test (MSLT), a recent study found. Increased MSLT performance was observed in the ON-medication state compared with OFF-medication; however, the small increase may not be clinically meaningful. 40 participants (mean age 65.12 ± 8.20 years; 45% female) with idiopathic PD completed the MSLT while OFF and ON anti-PD medication. The following measures were collected: Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Mini-BESTest), Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale, gait velocity, 6-minute walk test (6MWT), Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale subsection III (MDS-UPDRS III), and Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Researchers found:
- Regardless of medication status, participants stepped further in the forward direction compared with the backward and lateral directions.
- Participants increased MSLT performance when ON-medication compared with OFF-medication.
- Regardless of medication status, MSLT was moderately to strongly related to Mini-BESTest, TUG, and 6MWT.
- Given the relationships between the MSLT and the Mini-BESTest, 6MWT, and TUG, MSLT performance appears to be associated with balance and gait hypokinesia in people with PD.
Duncan RY, McNeely ME, Earhart GM. Maximum step length test performance in people with Parkinson disease: A cross-sectional study. J Neurol Phys Ther. 2017;41(4):216-221. doi:10.1097/NPT.0000000000000201
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