For people with Parkinson’s Disease, one of the most telling signals of the disease is their gait, or shuffling movement of the feet when they walk. Instead of walking heel to toe, many times they don’t lift their feet at all. They sometimes shuffle their feet on the ground or stride with the toe first.
As the disease progresses, this gait shuffling becomes more pronounced and eventually they may become susceptible to falls or “freezing of gait” symptoms, also known as FOG.
Freezing of gait episodes are closely related to falls and both can be debilitating. Medication can help decrease the chances of episodes or the severity of episodes, but as things progress, medication can only do so much.
When freezing episodes occur, the patient has trouble starting to walk and may stand in the same spot for a minute or two. The brain wants to walk but the feet don’t move. There are a variety of stimuli that may trigger gait freezing such as small spaces or stressful situations, but there are ways other than medication that can also reduce freezing and minimize falls.
One of the most effective prevention techniques we’ve found is with the use of a Parkinson walker that uses a laser beam near the feet. The laser provides a visual cue to the brain to walk.
Not only does the laser aid in reducing freezing of gait episodes, it is a very stable walker with features designed specifically for Parkinson’s. The automatic braking and reversible handle and brake combination make this an attractive walker for a person with Parkinson’s Disease.
While it may be impossible to eliminate freezing of gait completely, it is possible to reduce the tendency to freeze or fall with the right equipment, and ensure safer daily routines.
We have more information and a video about the Parkinson Walker on our website at: