Having small, shuffling steps are one of the signs of neurodegenerative Parkinson’s Disorder (PD). Also this condition, which is known as Parkinsonian gait, is caused by changes in posture, slow movement and also freezing.
“Gait is our manner or pattern of walking” when we walk our body is normally upright, neither leaning forwards nor backwards, with an even stride and arms swinging at the sides we will have good balance.
Parkinsonian gait is a distinctive, less steady walk. The person who has Parkinsonian gait feels, their feet dragging on the ground; freezing – feeling feet are stuck to the floor. This affects balance and increase the risk of falling.
Our members have most of these issues.
To overcome Freezing
- Change direction: if you can’t move forward, try stepping sideways and then go forward.
- Carry a laser pointer in your pocket; when you freeze – shine the laser in front of your foot and step on the light – this cue can help you re-start.
- Visualize an object on the ground in front of you and try to step over it.
- Wear a metronome on your belt or carry a small one in your pocket – turn it on and the external beat can help you re-start.
- Try humming a song and time your re-start with the beat of the music.
- Count “1-2-3-go” and then step forward.
- Weight shift side to side to help initiate taking a step.
- March in place a few times and then step forward
To maintain balance
- Keep at least one hand free at all times; try using a backpack or fanny pack to hold things rather than carrying them in your hands. Never carry objects in both hands when walking as this interferes with balance.
- Attempt to swing both arms from front to back while walking. This may require a conscious effort if PD has diminished your movement.
- Consciously lift your feet off of the ground when walking. Shuffling and dragging your feet may cause you to lose your balance.
- Do one thing at a time! Don’t try to walk and accomplish another task.
- Do not wear rubber or gripping soled shoes, they may “catch” on the floor and cause tripping.
- Move slowly when changing positions.
- Use deliberate, concentrated movements and if needed, use a grab bar or walking aid.
- Count 15 seconds between each movement. For example, when rising from a seated position, wait 15 seconds after standing to begin walking.
- If balance is a continuous problem, you may want to consider a walking aid such as a cane, walking stick, or walker.
Once you’ve mastered walking with help, you may be ready to try it on your own again!