Background: There is a lack of evidence about the most effective strategy for training gait in mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of robotic gait training versus equal intensity treadmill training and conventional physiotherapy on walking ability in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. Methods: Sixty patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease (Hoehn & Yahr stage 3) were randomly assigned into three groups. All patients received twelve, 45-min treatment sessions, three days a week, for four consecutive weeks. The Robotic Gait Training group (n = 20) underwent robot-assisted gait training. The Treadmill Training group (n = 20) performed equal intensity treadmill training without body-weight support. The Physical Therapy group (n = 20) underwent conventional gait therapy according to the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation concept. Patients were evaluated before, after and 3 months post-treatment. Primary outcomes were the following timed tasks: 10-m walking test, 6-min walking test. Results: No statistically significant difference was found on the primary outcome measures between the Robotic Gait Training group and the Treadmill Training group at the after treatment evaluation. A statistically significant improvement was found after treatment on the primary outcomes in favor of the Robotic Gait Training group and Treadmill Training group compared to the Physical Therapy group. Findings were confirmed at the 3-month follow-up evaluation. Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that robotic gait training is not superior to equal intensity treadmill training for improving walking ability in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease.
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