Parkinson disease (PD) subjects with freezing gait (FOG) had increased variability in foot strike suggesting that in addition to stride length variability, foot strike variability could contribute to imbalance leading to falls. This according to a recent study that evaluated whether there was an objective gait correlate to the increased stumbling reported by many patients with gait freezing. 72 age-matched subjects (22 PD FOG, 27 PD no-FOG, and 23 healthy controls [HC]) were enrolled. Subjects with >1 fall/day or a Montreal Cognitive Assessment score <10 were excluded. Subjects walked at their normal pace, 8 lengths of a 20 × 4 foot pressure-sensor mat. Researchers found:
- Foot strike variability could contribute to imbalance leading to falls.
- Mean dimensions of foot strike were not significantly different between groups, but PD FOG subjects had increased step-to-step variability in foot strike as measured by the percent coefficient of variation (%CV) in foot strike length compared to PD no-FOG and HC, independent of stride velocity.
- In PD no-FOG subjects, fallers also had higher variability in foot strike length compared to non-fallers.
Shah J, Pillai L, Williams DK, et al. Increased foot strike variability in Parkinson's disease patients with freezing of gait. [Published online ahead of print May 1, 2018]. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2018.04.032.
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