Parkinsonian Gait, commonly known as Parkinson’s Walk, differs from typical adult gait in that it has very brief, shuffled steps with minimal foot lift.
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Parkinsonian Gait, commonly known as Parkinson’s Walk, differs from typical adult gait in that it has very brief, shuffled steps with minimal foot lift. The foot is laid flat on the ground because there is little to no flexibility in the knee, ankle, or foot, leading to an exceptionally short stride length. To start moving, one has to be able to flex the foot, bend the knee, and roll onto the ball of the foot. Parkinsonian Gait lacks the knee and foot flexion that characterizes our typical movement, making it challenging for people who experience it to begin walking.
When turning, it might be sluggish and unpleasant due to the inability to swing or move the leg. Uneven surfaces, slopes, and steps can be nearly hard to negotiate. Those who have Parkinsonian Gait frequently have a stooped posture and a little forward lean. Rapid, brief steps that seem to force the person ahead are frequently observed in order to prevent overbalancing, and diminished arm movement is frequently apparent.
What are the Causes?
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of nerve cells and decreased production of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the basal ganglia, a region of the brain. Dopamine is used by the basal ganglia to bring neurons together. This implies that connections are reduced when dopamine levels are low. Your body’s smooth motions are controlled by the basal ganglia. This region of the brain cannot perform that task as well when there are fewer connections there. This results in Parkinsonian gait and other Parkinson’s disease movement symptoms. There is some evidence to suggest that in patients with Parkinson’s disease, anxiety might trigger gait freezing or exacerbate it. The condition Parkinson’s also frequently manifests as anxiety. But this subject needs additional study.
Parkinsonian gait can be treated with levodopa (L-dopa) and other drugs that boost dopamine synthesis or utilization in the brain. The primary therapy for all Parkinson’s disease symptoms is this group of drugs. L-dopa is frequently used alongside a drug called carbidopa. L-dopa is prevented from being broken down by this medicine before it reaches the brain. People with Parkinson’s disease whose symptoms don’t go better with L-dopa have also had some benefits from deep brain stimulation on their gait. Small wires are implanted in the regions of the brain that govern movement during deep brain stimulation.
The cables are attached to a gadget that supplies the brain with constant electrical pulses, just like a pacemaker does for the heart. Although deep brain stimulation and drugs can assist cure gait problems in Parkinson’s disease, they are often less successful for these symptoms than for other Parkinson’s symptoms. For instance, prolonged use of L-dopa and other comparable drugs can raise the risk of gait freezing. Also, this is due to the possibility that if you take the medications for a prolonged period of time, their effects may start to vary throughout the day. If this takes place, you can have freezing of gait during periods when the drug isn’t working as well.
Exercises to Improve Gait
Parkinsonian gait can be improved with physical therapy and other activities that teach you other “strategies” for walking. Some of these workouts are doable at home. To determine which exercises will be most helpful for you, go to a physical therapist. Possible drills include:
Increasing range of movement and mobility
Your stability, gait, and stiffness can all be improved by increasing your flexibility. For example, try these workouts:
- Sit on a chair and slant your upper body to the right and left at the waist.
- Turn your upper body to the right and left while crawling on all fours. As you turn, raise the arm on the side you’re turning to.
Strengthen your lower body as well
Strength training can help you become more balanced, cover more ground, and even walk faster. Among the workouts to attempt are:
Use your legs to push a weight away from your body while seated.
Set yourself in an upright position with your legs a little wider than hip-width apart. To prevent your knees from crossing your toes, bend your knees while pulling your glute muscles back. If required, you can grab onto something. You only need to descend a few inches.
Using a recumbent electric bicycle, which is a stationary cycle with a back you can lean on while standing with your legs straight out in front of you, will help strengthen your legs.
Frequently get into and out of a chair
You may build up your leg and core muscles by repeatedly sitting down and getting up. Additionally, it aids in the development of practical skills.
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