Underwater gait analysis in Parkinson’s disease Academic Article uri icon


  • Although hydrotherapy is one of the physical therapies adopted to optimize gait rehabilitation in people with Parkinson disease, the quantitative measurement of gait-related outcomes has not been provided yet. This work aims to document the gait improvements in a group of parkinsonians after a hydrotherapy program through 2D and 3D underwater and on land gait analysis. Thirty-four parkinsonians and twenty-two controls were enrolled, divided into two different cohorts. In the first one, 2 groups of patients underwent underwater or land based walking training; controls underwent underwater walking training. Hence pre-treatment 2D underwater and on land gait analysis were performed, together with post-treatment on land gait analysis. Considering that current literature documented a reduced movement amplitude in parkinsonians across all lower limb joints in all movement planes, 3D underwater and on land gait analysis were performed on a second cohort of subjects (10 parkinsonians and 10 controls) who underwent underwater gait training. Baseline land 2D and 3D gait analysis in parkinsonians showed shorter stride length and slower speed than controls, in agreement with previous findings. Comparison between underwater and on land gait analysis showed reduction in stride length, cadence and speed on both parkinsonians and controls. Although patients who underwent underwater treatment exhibited significant changes on spatiotemporal parameters and sagittal plane lower limb kinematics, 3D gait analysis documented a significant (p<0.05) improvement in all movement planes. These data deserve attention for research directions promoting the optimal recovery and maintenance of walking ability.


  • Volpe, Daniele
  • Pavan, Davide
  • Morris, Meg
  • Guiotto, Annamaria
  • Iansek, Robert
  • Fortuna, Sofia
  • Frazzitta, Giuseppe
  • Sawacha, Zimi

publication date

  • 2017