Background: Evidence suggests treadmill training (TT) and body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) are effective strategies to improve gait in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. However, few researchers have investigated the spatiotemporal parameters during TT or BWSTT. OBJECTIVE:
The goal of this study is to determine gait adaptations in PD and healthy subjects during positive pressure BWSTT and post-intervention overground walking. METHODS:
Ten PD and ten healthy individuals participated in this study. Baseline spatiotemporal parameters were assessed using a six meter instrumented mat. A 10-min progressive BWSTT trial from 10% to 40% body weight support (BWS) was then completed. Video capture and analysis of 10-min BWSTT trials were performed to determine spatiotemporal gait parameters. Three (5-min, 10-min, and 15-min) post-intervention overground assessments were obtained. RESULTS:
During positive pressure BWSTT there was a significant effect of BW support on step length(SL) increase (p < 0.01) and cadence decrease (p < 0.001) in the healthy group but not in the PD group (p = 0.45 SL, p = 0.21 cadence). In post-intervention assessments there was a significant effect of time on velocity (p < 0.002 non-PD, p < 0.001 PD) and cadence (p < 0.05 non-PD, p < 0.01 PD) in both groups. CONCLUSIONS:
There appears to be a generalized effect of TT on overground gait mechanics after a single session of positive pressure BWSTT regardless of PD impairment.