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Stutter Stepping

The stutterstep is a peculiar gait feature in Parkinson’s. It is a hesitation before starting to walk from a standing or seated position. The hesitation is accompanied by a reduced stride length and irregular cadence. It could also have a component of hyper flexion of the knee and an asymmetric weight-bearing on the feet.

It is not freezing or festination, it is more complex than that. The exact underlying pathophysiology of stutter stepping is unknown- it could be a subconscious attempt to prevent falling, a misfire of neurons along the spinal chord, or even a core indeficiency. A thorough gait analysis would need to be done to get more information.

In my experience From working with Parkinson’s patients, the stutter stepping occurs When the person is not sure where they’re going, or what direction they should be heading in. It’s accompanied with words like, “I wasn’t sure…” or “I didn’t know…”

Some helpful suggestions might be to determine where are you going before you start to move. So ask yourself consciously from seated to standing or standing to moving – which direction are you going to head in, and what you are going to do when you get there.

Then make your first step the biggest- decide ahead of time if you’re going to start with your left foot or right foot forward and then swing the opposite arm…

Practice walking deliberately, intentionally, with big steps, arm swings, chest up, an eyes fixed ahead.