Managing Gait, Balance, and Posture in Parkinson's Disease

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2018 Apr 6;18(5):23. doi: 10.1007/s11910-018-0828-4.


Purpose of review: Postural instability and gait difficulties inexorably worsen with Parkinson's disease (PD) progression and become treatment resistant, with a severe impact on autonomy and quality of life. We review the main characteristics of balance instability, gait disabilities, and static postural alterations in advanced PD, and the available treatment strategies.

Recent findings: It remains very difficult to satisfactorily alleviate gait and postural disturbances in advanced PD. Medical and surgical interventions often fail to provide satisfactory or durable alleviation of these axial symptoms, that may actually call for differential treatments. Exercise and adapted physical activity programs can contribute to improving the patients' condition. Gait, balance, and postural disabilities are often lumped together under the Postural Instability and Gait Difficulties umbrella term. This may lead to sub-optimal patients' management as data suggest that postural, balance, and gait problems might depend on distinct underlying mechanisms. We advocate for a multidisciplinary approach from the day of diagnosis.

Keywords: Advanced Parkinson’s disease; Balance; Gait; Medical management; Physical activity; Posture.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Quality of Life