Background and Purpose:
Rhythmic auditory cueing and treadmill walking can improve spatiotemporal gait parameters through entrainment of movement patterns. Careful selection of cue frequencies is necessary if treadmill walking is to be employed, because cadence and step length are differentially affected by walking on a treadmill and overground. The purpose of this study was to describe the treatment of gait impairments for individuals with Parkinson disease, using strategically selected rhythmic auditory cue frequencies on both a treadmill and overground.
Three individuals with Hoehn & Yahr stage 2 Parkinson disease participated in this case series.
All participants completed 6 weeks of gait training, in which each session employed rhythmic auditory cueing during treadmill-based gait training followed by overground gait training. We provided targeted rhythmic auditory cueing with a metronome set to 85% and 115% of their self-selected cadence for treadmill and overground training, respectively. We performed clinical tests of gait and balance prior to, midway, and following training, and at a 3-month follow-up.
All participants improved overground gait speed (participant 1: +0.27 m/s; participant 2: +0.20 m/s; and participant 3: +0.18 m/s) and stride length (15.7 ± 4.17 cm) with small changes to cadence. Likewise, there were only small changes in balance.
We hypothesize that the large improvements in gait speed are due to the concomitant increases in stride length. Further research is needed to test the effect of targeted rhythmic auditory cueing during treadmill and overground gait.
Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at: http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A309).