Falls & Parkinson’s

How does Parkinson's disease affect balance?

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects predominantly the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Dopamine is heavily involved in controlling the movement of your body, with reduced levels of dopamine, people with Parkinson’s can experience obvious changes related to their movement including tremor, bradykinestia, limb rigidity, gait and balance problem.

People with Parkinson’s are at high risk of falling

According to a retrospective fall study of 489 in-patients admitted to a department of neurology, approximately 60% of PD patients had a history of at least one fall over the previous twelve months1. Gait and posture impairment are the main causes of falls for Parkinson’s. There is increasing evidence that these motor impairments may be partially due to deficits within the sensory system.

BalancePro insoles can improve walking stability for Parkinson’s

The key inventor of BalancePro insole, Dr. Stephen Perry has conducted a research study using the BalancePro insoles with people with Parkinsons’ disease. BalancePro insoles provides increased plantar sensory stimulation during gait in a group of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in comparison with healthy age-matched controls. Spatial–temporal parameters of gait were evaluated using an instrumented carpet, and muscle activation patterns were evaluated using surface electromyography (EMG). All participants were tested with both BalancePro insoles and conventional (flat) insoles while walking 20 feet.
Results indicated that the use of the BalancePro insoles produced a significant increase in single-limb support time. Additionally, the muscle activation sequence of the tibialis anterior was normalized by the facilitatory insole, at the time of initial ground contact. These changes may lead to an overall improvement in gait pattern and stability, and suggests that the use of the BalancePro insoles may be a useful treatment strategy for improving the gait of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. This also provides support for the role of facilitation of the foot sole sensation in improving motor output in individuals with Parkinson’s disease2.

1. Stolze H, Klebe S, Zechlin C, Baecker C, Friege L, Deuschl G. Falls in frequent neurological diseases--prevalence, risk factors and aetiology. J Neurol. 2004;251:79–84. 
2. M.E. Jenkins, Q.J. Almeida, S.J. Spaulding, R.B. van Oostveen, J.D. Holmes, A.M. Johnson, and S.D. Perry “Plantar cutaneous sensory stimulation improves single-limb support time, and EMG activation patterns among individuals with Parkinson’s disease” - Parkinsonism and Related Disorders