Gait Declines Differentially in, and Improves Prediction of, People with Parkinson's Disease Converting to a Freezing of Gait Phenotype

J Parkinsons Dis. 2023;13(6):961-973. doi: 10.3233/JPD-230020.


Background: Freezing of gait (FOG) is a debilitating, variably expressed motor symptom in people with Parkinson's disease (PwPD) with limited treatments.

Objective: To determine if the rate of progression in spatiotemporal gait parameters in people converting from a noFOG to a FOG phenotype (FOGConv) was faster than non-convertors, and determine if gait parameters can help predict this conversion.

Methods: PwPD were objectively monitored longitudinally, approximately every 6 months. Non-motor assessments were performed at the initial visit. Steady-state gait in the levodopa ON-state was collected using a gait mat (Protokinetics) at each visit. The rate of progression in 8 spatiotemporal gait parameters was calculated. FOG convertors (FOGConv) were classified if they did not have FOG at initial visit and developed FOG at a subsequent visit.

Results: Thirty freezers (FOG) and 30 non-freezers were monitored an average of 3.5 years, with 10 non-freezers developing FOG (FOGConv). FOGConv and FOG had faster decline in mean stride-length, swing-phase-percent, and increase in mean total-double-support percent, coefficient of variability (CV) foot-strike-length and CV swing-phase-percent than the remaining non-freezers (noFOG). On univariate modeling, progression rates of mean stride-length, stride-velocity, swing-phase-percent, total-double-support-percent and of CV swing-phase-percent had high discriminative power (AUC > 0.83) for classification of the FOGConv and noFOG groups.

Conclusion: FOGConv had a faster temporal decline in objectively quantified gait than noFOG, and progression rates of spatiotemporal gait parameters were more predictive of FOG phenotype conversion than initial (static) parameters Objectively monitoring gait in disease prediction models may help define FOG prone groups for testing putative treatments.

Keywords: Freezing of gait; Parkinson’s disease; falls; gait; phenotype conversion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Gait
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic* / diagnosis
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Levodopa
  • Parkinson Disease* / complications
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy


  • Levodopa