Gait difficulty, postural instability, and muscle weakness are associated with fear of falling in people with Parkinson's disease

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The present study aimed to examine the contribution of gait impairment, postural stability and muscle weakness to the level of fear of falling in people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Fifty-seven community-dwelling individuals with PD completed the study. Fear of falling was assessed by the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) scale. Postural stability and gait difficulty were determined by the posture and gait subscores of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS-PG). A Cybex dynamometer was used to measure isokinetic knee muscle strength. Individuals with PD achieved a mean ABC score of 73.6 ± 19.3. In the multiple regression analysis, after accounting for basic demographics, fall history and disease severity, the UPDRS-PG score remained independently associated with the ABC score, accounting for 13.4% of the variance (P < 0.001). The addition of knee muscle strength significantly improved the prediction model and accounted for an additional 7.3% of the variance in the ABC score (P < 0.05). This is the first study to demonstrate that the UPDRS-PG score and knee muscle strength are important and independent determinants of the level of fear of falling in individuals with PD. Improving balance, gait stability and knee muscle strength could be crucial in promoting balance confidence in the appropriately targeted PD population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number901721
JournalParkinson's Disease
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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