Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) walk slowly, in part to compensate for their balance control deficit. We tested the effect of balance support to determine if walking performance in PD patients would improve. The sample consisted of unmedicated older adults with idiopathic Parkinson's disease who had poor balance control but no stooped posture, arthritis or muscle weakness. There was no difference in walking speed between unsupported and supported walking. The speeds were between those reported for disease-free older adults and older adults with muscle weakness and a history of falling. PD patients' walking difficulties, even while using a balance aid, may be partly explained by their set-changing problems. They frequently hold the cane off the ground when walking, suggesting their set-changing difficulty may be severe enough that using it aggravates their walking difficulty. Treatment of walking difficulty in PD patients should consider interventions other than those dealing only with balance control.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||2|
|Journal||International Journal of Clinical Practice|
|State||Published - Aug 15 2001|
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