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Table of Contents    
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 646-647

Primary progressive freezing gait: Report of five cases

Department of Neurology, Sree Mookambika Institute of Medical Sciences, Kulasekharam, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication9-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Robert Mathew
Department of Neurology, Sree Mookambika Institute of Medical Sciences, Kulasekharam, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/neuroindia.NI_1200_15

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How to cite this article:
Robert S, Mathew R. Primary progressive freezing gait: Report of five cases. Neurol India 2017;65:646-7

How to cite this URL:
Robert S, Mathew R. Primary progressive freezing gait: Report of five cases. Neurol India [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jan 18];65:646-7. Available from:


Primary progressive freezing gait (PPFG) is a neurodegenerative atypical Parkinson syndrome, which begins with start hesitation or ignition failure, causes gait freezing during the first 3 years, and subsequently results in postural instability and falls. It is often accompanied by bradykinesia and rigidity and is unresponsive to dopaminergic medications.

We report five patients fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for PPFG. There were four male and one female patients with their age ranging from 62 to 84 years and the duration of illness ranging from 2 to 7 years. They had start hesitation, gait freezing, postural instability, mild bradykinesia, and rigidity. Most of the patients required support to walk. One patient was wheelchair bound. They were given high doses of levodopa, with no significant improvement. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain was done in three patients, computed tomography (CT) of the brain in two patients, and additional cervical MRI in one patient. None had ventricular dilatation or infarcts. Two representative patients are described here.

The first patient, a 62-year old lady, developed start hesitation, slow gait, en bloc turns with poor balance, although she had no difficulty in moving her legs while in bed or sitting. There was no tremor or stiffness of legs, bladder symptoms or cognitive impairment. She was given up to 600 mg of levodopa per day with no significant response. MRI brain showed mild diffuse atrophy. Seven years after the onset of her illness, she had subtle symmetric bradykinesia, severe gait freezing, and walked with support of a person, with no tremors or oculomotor signs.

The second patient, a 63-year-old diabetic gentleman, presented with 4-year history of gait initiation difficulty and poor balance. He had normal oculomotor movements, mild rigidity and bradykinesia, gait freezing, and severe postural instability. CT brain and MRI cervical spine were normal.

PPFG was defined by Nir Giladi as an episodic inability (lasting seconds) to generate effective stepping in the absence of any known cause other than  Parkinsonism More Details or higher level gait disorders. It is most commonly experienced during turning and step initiation but also when faced with spatial constraint, stress, and distraction. Focused attention and external stimuli (cues) can overcome the episode.[1] The most common feature associated with PPFG is the unique subjective feeling of feet getting glued to the ground.

The strongest provocative factor for PPFG is turning (turning hesitation).[2] Freezing is also common at the initiation of gait (start hesitation), when passing through a narrow space (tight quarters hesitation), or immediately before reaching a destination (destination hesitation).[3] Time pressure to execute walking, as in attempting to cross before a traffic signal changes, also worsens PPFG.[4] Providing marching commands similar to that given to a soldier or giving visual stimuli such as stepping over objects, such as another person's foot, floor patterns, specially designed walking sticks with extensions near the foot, which the patient can cross over, are some techniques to overcome freezing.[5]

PPFG is a distinct clinical entity and is probably underdiagnosed in our part of the country. Despite its heterogeneous nature, this diagnosis definitely has its own clinical relevance, especially in predicting natural history and prognosis.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Giladi N, Nieuwboer A. Understanding and treating freezing of gait in parkinsonism, proposed working definition and setting the stage. Mov Disord 2008;23(Suppl 2):S423-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Bloem BR, Hausdorff JM, Visser JE, Giladi N. Falls and freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease: A review of two interconnected, episodic phenomena. Mov Disord 2004;19:871-84.  Back to cited text no. 2
Okuma Y, Yanagisawa N. The clinical spectrum of freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord 2008;23(Suppl 2):S426-30.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fahn S. The freezing phenomenon in parkinsonism. Adv Neurol 1995;67:53-63.  Back to cited text no. 4
Stern G, Lander C, Lees A. Akinetic freezing and trick movements in Parkinson's disease. J Neural Transm 1980;16(Suppl):137-41.  Back to cited text no. 5


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