Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Emily Henneman


Parkinson's disease, neurodegenerative, movement disorder, Tinetti Balance & Gait Assessment, compression fractures


Background and purpose: Parkinson's disease is a slow, variable, progressive, neurodegenerative disease. It is the most common serious movement disorder in the world. Falls are common in people with Parkinson's disease and may lead to devasting outcomes such as compression fractures. This article describes the outpatient physical therapy course of a 76-year-old female patient with Parkinson's disease whom sustained a L3 lumbar compression fracture from a fall. It also discusses the outcomes she obtained as a result of physical therapy intervention.

Case Description: The patient presented to physicat therapy with decreased overall strength, gait difficulty with decreased foot clearance, postural instability and impaired balance, decreased coordination, and reduced activity tolerance. Interventions performed included gait training, therapeutic exercise, therapeutic activity, and patient education to improve the patient's strength, gait, balance, coordination, and activity tolerance while allowing for lumbar compression fracture healing.

Outcomes: Following physical therapy intervention, the patient demonstrated improved strength, balance, coordination, and gait potential as evidenced by improved 30 Second Chair Stand, Tinetti Balance & Gait Assessment, and Timed Up and Go Test scores. The patient also demonstrated improved activity tolerance by being able to ambulate longer distances with fewer rest breaks.

Discussion: Rationale for rehabilitation was based off literature for fall reduction, Parkinson's disease, and vertebral compression fractures. This case report concluded that gait training, therapeutic therapeutic activity, and patient education intervention resulted in improvements in the patient's strength, gait, balancer coordination, and activity tolerance.