People with Parkinson's disease can improve their walking movements with treadmill training, say researchers.
According to Cochrane Researchers, treadmill training could be used to improve specific gait parameters in Parkinson's patients.
Gait hypokinesia, characterised by slowness of movement, is one of the main movement disorders that affects Parkinson's patients and can have a major impact on quality of life.
To reach their conclusion, researchers analysed data from eight trials including 203 patients for the review, published in The Cochrane Library. They compared treadmill training versus no treadmill training, using effects on walking speed, stride length, number of steps per minute (cadence) and walking distance to measure improvement in gait. Treadmill training had a positive impact on each of these measurements, apart from cadence.
"Treadmill training appears to be a safe and effective way of improving gait in patients with Parkinson's disease," said lead researcher Jan Mehrholz, of the Wissenschaftliches Institut in Kreischa, Germany. "Crucially, we saw very few adverse effects or drop outs in patients given this type of rehabilitation therapy."
However, the researchers say the findings must be treated with care as they are based on a limited number of small trials.