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Original Editor - Simisola Ajeyalemi

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Bradykinesia is a term used to describe slowness of movement. It usually manifest as difficulty initiating movement , reduced movement and can impact an individual's ability to carry out activities of daily living. Bradykinesia is a classic symptom of Parkinson's disease and can also be a side effect of some medications.

The pathophysiology of bradykinesia is not fully understood, it's however thought that the basal ganglia fails to reinforce cortical mechanism in preparation and performance of movement. [1]


Clinical Presentation[edit | edit source]

  • Hypomimia- loss of or limited facial expressions
  • Hypophonia
  • Difficulty with fine motor activities
  • Reduced arm swings when walking
  • Shuffling steps when walking
  • Small cramped handwriting

Bradykinesia Assessment[edit | edit source]

Rapid alternating movements in the upper and lower extremity can be used to establish the diagnosis of bradykinesia in a patient. During these movements, the examiner looks out for a decline in the rate and/or amplitude of movement.[3]

Bradykinesia can be assessed with the following test:

  • Finger Tapping
  • Fist open/close
  • Pronation/supination of the hand
  • Toe tapping
  • Heel tapping

References[edit | edit source]

  1. A. Berardelli, J. C. Rothwell, P. D. Thompson, M. Hallett, Pathophysiology of bradykinesia in Parkinson's disease, Brain, Volume 124, Issue 11, November 2001, Pages 2131–2146
  2. Fort Worth Brain and Spine Institiute. Available from
  3. Jankovic J. Parkinson’s disease: Clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol, Neurosurg & Psychiatr. 2008;79(4):368–76.