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Document Type


Publication Date



Physical Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Sharon Held, PT, DPT, MS, PCS, C/NDT


Standardized outcome measures (SOMs) are used by physical therapists (PTs) to assess patients’ functional abilities/limitations and participation level with results guiding patient outcomes and interventions. PTs manage patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease of progressive rigidity, bradykinesia, tremor, postural instability (particularly backwards), gait disturbances (ie. freezing), and fall risk. Various SOMs are appropriate for patients with PD; however, may not provide comprehensive assessments for these limitations. The Backwards Gait Analysis (BGA) examines postural stability and walking backwards. The Standardized Walking Obstacle Course (SWOC) examines functional ambulation with varying task conditions, physical features, and environmental dimensions. Both the BGA and SWOC have not been fully validated for the PD population. This presentation analyzes current evidence on PD with related limitations and SOMs to provide the foundation for a study examining the BGA and SWOC for patients with PD. Study results could provide PTs with stronger SOMs, thereby improving outcome and intervention planning.