Training subjects to step-in-place eyes open on a rotating platform while maintaining a fixed body orientation in space [podokinetic stimulation (PKS)] produces a posteffect consisting in inadvertent turning around while stepping-in-place eyes closed [podokinetic after-rotation (PKAR)]. Since the rationale for rehabilitation of curved walking in Parkinson's disease is not fully known, we tested the hypothesis that repeated PKS favors the production of curved walking in these patients, who are uneasy with turning, even when straight walking is little affected. Fifteen patients participated in 10 training sessions distributed in 3 weeks. Both counterclockwise and clockwise PKS were randomly administered in each session. PKS velocity and duration were gradually increased over sessions. The velocity and duration of the following PKAR were assessed. All patients showed PKAR, which increased progressively in peak velocity and duration. In addition, before and at the end of the treatment, all patients walked overground along linear and circular trajectories. Post-training, the velocity of walking bouts increased, more so for the circular than the linear trajectory. Cadence was not affected. This study has shown that parkinsonian patients learn to produce turning while stepping when faced with appropriate training and that this capacity translates into improved overground curved walking.
- Journal Article