Posture and Locomotion Coupling: A Target for Rehabilitation Interventions in Persons with Parkinson's Disease

  • Mille Marie-Laure
  • Creath Robert A.
  • Prettyman Michelle G.
  • Hilliard Marjorie Johnson
  • Martinez Katherine M.
  • Mackinnon Colum D.
  • Rogers Mark W.


Disorders of posture, balance, and gait are debilitating motor manifestations of advancing Parkinson's disease requiring rehabilitation intervention. These problems often reflect difficulties with coupling or sequencing posture and locomotion during complex whole body movements linked with falls. Considerable progress has been made with demonstrating the effectiveness of exercise interventions for individuals with Parkinson's disease. However, gaps remain in the evidence base for specific interventions and the optimal content of exercise interventions. Using a conceptual theoretical framework and experimental findings, this perspective and review advances the viewpoint that rehabilitation interventions focused on separate or isolated components of posture, balance, or gait may limit the effectiveness of current clinical practices. It is argued that treatment effectiveness may be improved by directly targeting posture and locomotion coupling problems as causal factors contributing to balance and gait dysfunction. This approach may help advance current clinical practice and improve outcomes in rehabilitation for persons with Parkinson's disease.