Does visual cueing improve gait initiation in people with Parkinson's disease?

Yuri Russo, Samuel Stuart, Carla Silva-Batista, Barbara Brumbach, Giuseppe Vannozzi, Martina Mancini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) prior to gait initiation are impaired in people with Parkinson's disease (PD), particularly in those who report Freezing of Gait (FOG). External cues can improve gait parameters in people with PD, but the effects of visual cues on gait initiation are poorly known. The study aimed to (i) assess differences, during gait initiation, between people with PD with (FOG+) and without FOG (FOG-) and healthy controls (HC), (ii) explore the effect of disease severity on gait initiation and (iii) investigate the acute effect of visual cueing on gait initiation and straight-ahead gait. Twenty FOG- and twenty FOG+, and eighteen HC participated in this study. Participants were asked to perform self-initiated gait with and without visual cues presented as transverse taped lines on the floor. Gait initiation and gait were characterized with wireless inertial measurement units. Results showed that FOG+ had smaller APAs than HC and FOG-; although no differences were detected between FOG+ and FOG- when taking into account disease severity. Significant correlations between MDS-UPDRS III scores and gait initiation/straight-ahead gait variables confirmed that differences between FOG+ and FOG- were driven by disease severity. In gait initiation, visual cues elicited different behaviors in people with and without PD. Particularly, people with PD showed smaller and longer APAs, whereas HC showed longer first step durations, compared to baseline. However, the adopted visual cues improved gait speed and stride length in all individuals. These results suggest that people with PD, despite the presence of FOG, utilize different motor strategies, compared to HC, to adapt to the new biomechanical requirements of gait initiation dictated by the visual cues.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102970
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Movement Science
Early online date20 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


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