The biomechanics and motor control of gait in Parkinson disease

Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2001 Jul;16(6):459-70. doi: 10.1016/s0268-0033(01)00035-3.


Parkinson disease is a progressive neurological condition characterised by hypokinesia (reduced movement), akinesia (absent movement), tremor, rigidity and postural instability. These movement disorders are associated with a slow short-stepped, shuffling gait pattern. Analysis of the biomechanics of gait in response to medication, visual cues, attentional strategies and neurosurgery provides insight into the nature of the motor control deficit in Parkinson disease and the efficacy of current therapeutic interventions. In this article we supplement a critical evaluation of the Parkinson disease gait literature with two case examples. The first case describes the kinematic gait response of an individual with Parkinson disease to visual cues in the "off" phase of the levodopa medication cycle. The second case investigates the biomechanics and motor control of turning during walking in a patient with Parkinson disease compared with elderly and young control subjects. The results are interpreted in light of the need for gait analysis to investigate complex functional walking tasks rather than confining assessment to straight line walking, which has been the trend to date.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*