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Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Mary K. Farrell, PT, MS, NCS, GCS

Second Advisor

Laurie Lundy-Ekman, PhD, PT


Background and purpose. An abnormal pattern of gait is a common characteristic of Parkinson's disease. Arm swing is an important component of gait, assisting in balance, and forward propulsion of the upper body, thus contributing to the advancement of the lower extremities. Research indicates that arm swing shares a close relationship with the velocity and stride length of the normal human pattern of gait. Through the utilization of walking sticks, this study aimed to influence arm swing. The purpose of this case report was to examine the effects of a walking stick training program on the velocity, stride length and arm swing parameters of three subjects with Parkinson's disease.

Methods. A four-week walking-stick intervention was implemented into three subjects' normal exercise and walking routine. Pre, mid and post-test measurements of velocity, stride length and arm swing were taken.

Results. Each subject showed improvements in all three gait parameters over the course of the study, with the exception of one outlying arm swing parameter in a single subject.

Discussion and Conclusion. Subjects reported additional benefits of the walking-stick intervention including improved well being and posture. Walking sticks may, play a role in how therapeutic programs are designed for people with Parkinson's disease. Focus on increasing arm swing resulted in increases in all three measured parameters.


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