Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jeff Holmes


Freezing of gait (FOG) is a distressing symptom of Parkinson’s disease with a significant impact on fall risk and quality of life. Although medication improves some of the symptoms of slowness and rigidity, it is only minimally effective in treating FOG. Therefore, a better understanding of alternative treatment strategies is needed to manage this symptom. To investigate the effectiveness of visual cueing in the management of FOG, and to determine if visual cueing is dependent upon the spatial location of cue presentation. Six individuals with Parkinson’s disease who experience FOG were asked to complete the Timed Up and Go test three times in each of the following conditions: (i) no visual cue, (ii) cue presented at the users feet, (iii) cue presented at a distance equivalent to step length, and (iv) cue presented at a distance equivalent to stride length. Step length, velocity, and the elapsed time taken to complete a 180 degree turn was assessed using a 10-ft Zeno electronic walkway. In addition, time taken to complete the Timed Up and Go test was recorded, and walker positioning assessed via Kinovea motion analysis software. The results of this study identified that irrespective of the spatial location of cue presentation, visual cueing led to an improvement in four out of the five outcome measures (timed up and go, turn time, walker positioning and step length). Findings from this study may help lead to the development of best practice guidelines for implementing this novel treatment strategy.