The Effect of One Session Split-Belt Treadmill Training on Gait Adaptation in People With Parkinson's Disease and Freezing of Gait.Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2020 10; 34(10):954-963.NN
Freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with gait asymmetry and switching difficulty. A split-belt treadmill may potentially address those deficits.
To investigate the immediate and retention effects of one-session split-belt treadmill training (SBT) in contrast to regular tied-belt treadmill training (TBT) on gait asymmetry and adaptation in people with PD and FOG (PD + FOG) and healthy controls (HC). Additionally, to investigate differential effects of 3 SBT protocols and compare different gait adaptation outcomes.
PD + FOG (n = 45) and HC (n = 36) were randomized to 1 of 3 SBT groups (belt speeds' ratio 0.75:1; 0.5:1 or changing ratios) or TBT group. Participants were tested at Pre, Post, and Retention after one treadmill training session. Gait asymmetry was measured during a standardized adaptation test on the split-belt treadmill.
SBT proved beneficial for gait adaptation in PD + FOG and HC (P < .0001); however, HC improved more. SBT with changing ratios demonstrated significant effects on gait adaptation from Pre to Post in PD + FOG, supported by strong effect sizes (d = 1.14) and improvements being retained for 24 hours. Mean step length asymmetry during initial exposure was lower in HC compared with PD + FOG (P = .035) and differentiated best between the groups.
PD + FOG improved gait adaptation after a single SBT session although effects were smaller than in HC. SBT with changing ratios was the most effective to ameliorate gait adaptation in PD + FOG. These promising results warrant future study on whether long-term SBT strengthens adaptation in PD + FOG and has potential to induce a better resilience to FOG. Clinical trial ID: NCT03725215.