Coordination of axial rotation and step execution: deficits in Parkinson's disease

Gait Posture. 2003 Dec;18(3):150-7. doi: 10.1016/s0966-6362(03)00034-1.


To determine why parkinsonian patients (PP) present some difficulties to initiate locomotion, a diagonal step has been investigated in two tasks in five control subjects (CS) and in ten PP. In the first task, the subjects had to perform one diagonal step without change in their orientation (WR); in the second task, they had to perform one diagonal step with a body rotation in the step direction (RO). The defended hypothesis is that the gait initiation deficits in Parkinson disease are a consequence of their difficulties to coordinate al the component of a complex movement. The analysed parameters were the duration of the postural and movement phases, the step length and velocity, and the amplitude of the horizontal ground reaction forces during each phase. Compared to CS, the PP showed a lengthening of the postural phase, a decrease in the step length and velocity and a reduction of the horizontal forces. The comparisons between the performances obtained in the WR versus those obtained the RO show in CS that the performances remained unchanged, whereas in PP the performances were significantly more altered in the RO. It illustrates the specific deficit occurring in PP while performing complex tasks where coordination between several components has to be achieved simultaneously.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis