Treadmill training for the treatment of gait disturbances in people with Parkinson's disease: A mini-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


FundersFunder number
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on AgingR29AG014100
National Parkinson Foundation
H2020 Future and Emerging Technologies018474-2
Sixth Framework Programme


    • Gait
    • Neuroplasticity
    • Parkinson's disease
    • Treadmill


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