Comparing Backward Walking Performance in Parkinson's Disease with and without Freezing of Gait-A Systematic Review


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor symptoms and gait impairments. Among them, freezing of gait (FOG) is one of the most disabling manifestations. Backward walking (BW) is an activity of daily life that individuals with PD might find difficult and could cause falls. Recent studies have reported that gait impairments in PD were more pronounced in BW, particularly in people presenting FOG. However, to the best of our knowledge, no systematic review has synthetized the literature which compared BW performance in PD patients with and without FOG.


Two databases, PubMed and Web of Science, were systematically searched to identify studies comparing BW performance in PD patients with and without FOG. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) tool was used to assess the quality of the studies included.


Seven studies with 431 PD patients (179 PD with FOG and 252 PD without FOG) met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. Among them, 5 studies reported walking speed, 3 studies step length, stride length and lower limb range of motion, 2 studies functional ambulation profile, toe clearance height, swing, and stance percent and 1 study reported the decomposition index and stepping coordination. Compared to PD patients without FOG, PD patients with FOG showed slower walking speed and reduced step length in 3 studies, shorter stride length, lower functional ambulation profile and decreased ankle range of motion in 2 studies, and smaller swing percent, higher stance percent, worse stepping coordination, greater decomposition between movements, and lower toe clearance height in one study.


Despite the small number of included studies, the findings of this review suggested that PD patients with FOG have worse gait performance during the BW task than PD without FOG.


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