To investigate whether gait training with treadmill improves functional tasks of lower extremities in patients with Parkinson disease (PD).
Randomized controlled trial including two groups, the treadmill training group and the nonintervention group.
Thirty consecutive patients diagnosed with idiopathic PD, who were on stable regimens of antiparkinsonian medication, able to walk independently, and had not participated in a rehabilitation program in the previous 3 months. Patients with severe cognitive impairments or severe musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, neurologic, or other systemic disorders were excluded. Twenty-four patients completed the study.
Group I attended a training program on a treadmill for 6 weeks, and group II served as the control group. Both groups were instructed in home mobility exercises.
Main Outcome Measurements:
The primary study outcome measures were timed functional lower-extremity tasks (walking at a corridor, U-turn, turning around a chair, stairs, standing on one foot, standing from a chair), and secondary outcome measures were exercise test and patient's global assessment. Assessments were performed at baseline and at the end of the study.
There were significant improvements in functional lower-extremity tests, exercise test parameters, and patients' global assessment in group I, whereas no significant improvements were observed in group II.
Even though long-term effects remain unknown and the study sample was small, it was concluded that treadmill training in PD patients led to improvements in lower-extremity tasks, thus improving patients' physical well-being in daily life.