Freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease

J Neurol. 2006 Dec;253 Suppl 7:VII27-32. doi: 10.1007/s00415-006-7007-2.


Freezing of Gait (FOG) is one of the most disabling and least understood symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD), and is usually observed in the advanced stage of the disease. FOG can be experienced on turning, in narrow spaces, whilst reaching a destination, and in stressful situations. FOG is commonly observed in the "off" state, but it can also be observed in the "on" state. Dual tasking (cognitive load) aggravates FOG. Visual or auditory cues often resolve FOG. Analysis of gait revealed that the rhythm of stepping suddenly jumps into high frequency (4-5 Hz) in FOG (hastening), and that floor reaction forces are disregulated. Stride-to-stride variability is increased in FOG. Hastening phenomenon was reported not only in PD patients but also in patients with striatal lesions. The basal ganglia and its frontal projections may be one of the essential lesion sites for FOG.A recent study using single-photon emission tomography (SPECT) revealed enhanced lateral premotor cortex (PMC) activity during paradoxical gait in PD, suggesting that PMC can compensate for the impaired function of the medial frontal cortex when cued by visual input. Treatment of FOG includes behavioural, medical, and surgical approaches. Tricks of all kinds (including external cues) are effective therapeutic approaches. If FOG occurs predominantly in the "off" state, dopaminergic therapy can be increased. For "on" freezing or if "on" response is otherwise optimised, the dose of the dopaminergic agent may be manipulated, but it could lead to the deterioration of parkinsonism. Deep brain stimulation of the STN often alleviates FOG in the "off" state.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Freezing Reaction, Cataleptic / physiology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / therapy
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*