Impaired leg extensor strength in individuals with Parkinson disease and relatedness to functional mobility


Previous investigations have demonstrated leg strength deficits in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD) as compared to neurologically-normal adults. However, the exact mode of contraction by which strength is assessed may determine how closely such deficits are related to functional performance. The purpose of this study was to better understand the relationship of strength and functional mobility in persons with PD (n = 17, mean H&Y stage = 2.0) via comparison to a group of similar age healthy controls (n = 10) using a multi-joint isometric test of strength and various measures of functional mobility. Tests included isometric leg press maximum force relative to body mass, the Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale (ABC), postural sway under various unilateral stance and visual conditions, and the timed up and go (TUG). Relative force (p = 0.044) and ABC questionnaire mean scores (p < 0.001), showed controls performing better than PD subjects. The control group performed better than the PD group for length of path of the center of pressure except in the eyes closed positions (p < 0.05 for all). TUG time (p = 0.052) was not significantly different between the PD group and healthy controls. Leg press maximum force relative to body mass was however significantly correlated with TUG time (r = -0.68, p = 0.003) in persons with PD. There were no gender differences for any variables. These results suggest that some balance and functional mobility task performances are more worse for persons with mild-to-moderate PD than for neurologically-normal age-matched controls, which may be influenced by lessened lower extremity multi-joint strength. Strength training of the lower extremity utilizing such multi-joint actions may be beneficial for this population. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Parkinsonism and Related Disorders