Abb1.: Center of Mass (COM), center of gravity (COG) und center of pressure (COP) bei der Posturographie.

Freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease is a “brief, episodic absence or marked reduction of forward progression of the feet despite having the intention to walk” (Giladi & Nieuwboer, 2008), often subjectively described by the patients as the "feeling that their feet get glued to the ground". FOG often occurs when initiating gait, during turning, when passing doorways or when reaching a target.

This project investigates the relationship of FOG and postural control deficits in Parkinson's disease. We are interested in whether postural control deficits contribute to FOG or, alternatively, whether altered postural control compensates for FOG. Neuromechanical analyses are applied to get a detailed view of the different postural control domains and to investigate the underlying mechanisms of locomotion.

This project is funded by the Coppenrath-Foundation and Krumme-Foundation. 



  • Dr. Fay Horak, Balance Disorders Laboratory, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Dr. Martina Mancini, Balance Disorders Laboratory, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Maetzler, Klinik für Neurologie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Germany


People with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease have deficits in various motor and non-motor symptoms, including gait as the essential form of human locomotion. Parkinsonian gait can be characterised by motor blocks (freezing of gait), reduced step lengths, larger gait asymmetry and impaired gait regularity. These gait deficits are associated with falls and impact patients' mobility and quality of life. 

Split-belt treadmill is investigated in this project to rehabilitate gait disorders of people with Parkinson's disease. A split-belt treadmill has two belts, allowing to adjust the belt's velocity of left and right leg independently. Split-belt treadmill is a promising tool to modulate gait deficits, particularly gait asymmetry. The transfer and storage of newly learned gait patterns imposed by different split-belt conditions will be investigated.

The project is funded by the Jacques & Gloria Gossweiler Foundation.



  • Prof. Dr. Alice Nieuwboer, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Prof. Dr. Burkhard Weisser, Department of Sports Science, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Maetzler, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany