Functional limits of stability and standing balance in people with Parkinson's disease with and without freezing of gait using wearable sensors

Naoya Hasegawa, Kas C. Maas, Vrutangkumar V. Shah, Patricia Carlson-Kuhta, John G. Nutt, Fay B. Horak, Tadayoshi Asaka, Martina Mancini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: People with from Parkinson's disease (PD) and freezing of gait (FoG) have more frequent falls compared to those who do not freeze but there is no consensus on which, specific objective measures of postural instability are worse in freezers (PD + FoG) than non-freezers (PD-FoG). Research question: Are functional limits of stability (fLoS) or postural sway during stance measured with wearable inertial sensors different between PD + FoG versus PD-FoG, as well as between PD versus healthy control subjects (HC)? Methods: Sixty-four PD subjects with FoG (MDS-UPDRS Part III: 45.9 ± 12.5) and 80 PD subjects without FoG (MDS-UPDRS Part III: 36.2 ± 10.9) were tested Off medication and compared with 79 HC. Balance was quantified with inertial sensors worn on the lumbar spine while performing the following balance tasks: 1) fLoS as defined by the maximum displacement in the forward and backward directions and 2) postural sway area while standing with eyes open on a firm and foam surface. An ANOVA, controlling for disease duration, compared postural control between groups. Results: PD + FoG had significantly smaller fLoS compared to PD-FoG (p = 0.004) and to healthy controls (p < 0.001). However, PD-FoG showed similar fLoS compared to healthy controls (p = 0.48). Both PD+FoG and PD-FoG showed larger postural sway on a foam surface compared to healthy controls (p = 0.001) but there was no significant difference in postural sway between PD+FoG and PD-FoG. Significance: People with PD and FoG showed task-specific, postural impairments with smaller fLoS compared to non-freezers, even when controlling for disease duration. However, individuals with PD with or without FoG had similar difficulties standing quietly on an unreliable surface compared to healthy controls. Wearable inertial sensors can reveal worse fLoS in freezers than non-freezers that may contribute to FoG and help explain their more frequent falls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalGait and Posture
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Freezing of gait
  • Inertial measurement unit
  • Limits of stability
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Postural sway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional limits of stability and standing balance in people with Parkinson's disease with and without freezing of gait using wearable sensors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this