Oct 22, 2019
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.