The association between impaired turning and normal straight walking in Parkinson's disease

Gait Posture. 2007 Jul;26(2):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2007.04.010. Epub 2007 May 29.


Turning whilst walking was investigated by gait analysis in a group of Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients with mild clinical impairment and no significant abnormalities in stride parameters and kinematics of steady-state, linear walking. Comparison with age-matched controls demonstrated that patients approached turns with a slower step and completed turning with a greater number of steps. Moreover, the normal cranio-caudal sequence, whereby rotation of the head toward the intended direction of travel is followed by rotation of the trunk, was replaced by nearly simultaneous rotation of head and trunk and decreased relative head excursion after the second turning step. The evidence of abnormal inter-segmental coordination during turning in mildly affected, normally walking patients suggests that task-specific pathophysiological mechanisms, not necessary related to basic locomotor deficits, underlie disturbed directional changes in PD. Furthermore, turning-related neural systems may be more vulnerable to functional impairments associated with PD, as compared with linear walking. Hierarchically higher control levels involved in the turning ability may explain the observed unexpected association.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric