Background: Gait initiation and turning are common triggers for Freezing of Gait (FOG) in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, it has been shown that closed-loop tactile feedback (CLTF) can be effective to improve turning performance in people with FOG. Research question: Does CLTF change the preparation and execution of the first step during gait initiation? Methods: People (n = 36) with PD with FOG (PD + FOG) (n = 18) and without FOG (PD-FOG) (n = 18) were included in the study and performed self-initiated gait with or without CLTF under single and dual task conditions. Anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) and step kinematics were quantified with inertial measurement units (IMUs). Muscle activity of the right and left tensor fasciae latae (TFL) was measured via EMG recordings. Results: PD + FOG and PD-FOG did not differ in age, gender and disease duration and severity (p > 0.05). PD + FOG performed smaller APAs (F = 4.559, p = 0.04) with a higher amount of TFL co-contraction (F = 6.034, p = 0.02) compared to PD-FOG. CLTF had no effect on APAs but led to an increase in first step duration (F = 7.921, p = 0.008). Conclusions: PD + FOG had smaller APAs and higher left and right TFL co-contraction during gait initiation. CLTF did not impact preparation of the first step but led to a slower execution of the first step. We speculate that, similarly to findings from turning, CLTF might result in the participant attending more closely to the first step compared to without CLTF. Whether increased attention on gait initiation is beneficial in diminishing FOG should be investigated in more detail.
- Anticipatory postural adjustment
- Freezing of gait
- Parkinson's disease
- Postural balance
- Postural control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine