Problems with gait, or how you walk, are common in Parkinson’s disease (PD). These problems can include slow walking, shuffling, foot drags, less arm swinging than normal, and difficulty turning. One particularly troubling problem is freezing of gait, where a person with PD may be “stuck in their tracks” and feel that his or her feet are glued to the floor. The danger is that the person may fall forward or backward and incur injuries to the head, face, or wrists. Fortunately, there are effective remedies that can help mitigate gait disturbances, such as rehabilitation and exercise to improve one’s walking and balance. For some, the use of audible signals, such as key words, music or a metronome, to time and coordinate steps can be useful. Additionally, many will use visual cues, whether a marker secured the floor or even a laser pointer that projects a spot on the floor to use as a target to walk towards. In this episode, Dr. Jay Nutt, Emeritus Director of the Parkinson’s Center at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses the problem of freezing of gait and offers remedies.
- Fact Sheet: Falls Prevention
- Expert Briefing: Freezing or Sweating Falls When Walking with Parkinson’s Disease (webinar)
- Episode 18: Stall the Fall (podcast)
- Fitness Counts (book)
About This Episode
Released: October 22, 2019
Jay Nutt, MD
Jay Nutt, MD is the director emeritus of the Parkinson’s Center at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. He is internationally recognized for research on testing novel therapeutics, including neuroprotective and neurorestorative therapies, and gait and balance problems of Parkinson’s. His research on the pharmacokinetics of levodopa has provided significant clinical and scientific insights on this important therapy.
He is currently researching whether a medication originally designed for dementia improves balance and gait in people with Parkinson’s disease and whether gene therapy improves the response to levodopa.
For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.