Treadmill training for the treatment of gait disturbances in people with Parkinson’s disease: a mini-review
Abstract This report reviews recent investigations of the effects of treadmill training (TT) on the gait of patients with Parkinson’s disease. A literature search identified 14 relevant studies. Three studies reported on the immediate effects of TT; over-ground walking improved (e.g., increased speed and stride length) after one treadmill session. Effects persisted even 15 min later. Eleven longer term trials demonstrated feasibility, safety and efficacy, reporting positive benefits in gait speed, stride length and other measures such as disease severity (e.g., Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale) and health-related quality of life, even several weeks after cessation of the TT. Long-term carryover effects also raise the possibility that TT may elicit positive neural plastic changes. While encouraging, the work to date is preliminary; none of the identified studies received a quality rating of Gold or level Ia. Additional high quality randomized controlled studies are needed before TT can be recommended with evidence based support.