Akinesia vs Apraxia: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Akinesia and apraxia are neurological conditions that affect voluntary movement but have different underlying causes and manifestations.
  2. Akinesia is a loss or impairment of voluntary muscle movement, associated with Parkinson’s disease. It is characterized by difficulty initiating or executing movements, stiffness, and a general lack of spontaneous motion.
  3. Apraxia, on the other hand, is a motor planning disorder that affects the ability to carry out skilled movements or gestures, despite having the necessary strength and coordination. It can result from various brain injuries or neurological conditions and is seen in conditions like stroke or Alzheimer’s.

What is Akinesia?

Akinesia is a disorder where the affected person cannot start voluntary movements, and there is a delay involved. This disorder is a dysfunction of the motor, and this can be the result of various neurological conditions. Parkinson’s disease is at the top of that list.

People suffering from akinesia may experience difficulty in starting movements. They might also see a reduction in spontaneous movement. This disorder interrupts daily activities such as walking, tossing in bed, and getting up from the seat.

Often akinesia is called “freezing” because some people experience freezing of their gait in this disorder. It gives the impression that the feet can not be moved. Along with feet, hands and fingers can also experience this freezing feeling.

Dopamine is the solution to this neurological disorder. Therefore the medications that boost the activity of dopamine stand as a cure. However, do not take medication without consulting a healthcare professional.

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What is Apraxia?

Apraxia is also a motor and neurological disorder. Here the patient can not execute and perform movements or gestures. This occurs despite having unharmed sensory and motor functions. Apraxia has several variations. Ideomotor apraxia and ideational apraxia are the most notable among them.

Signs of apraxia include difficulty with fine motor skills, for example, buttoning a shirt and tying shoes, even though there is no paralysis of the muscles involved.

Another symptom is an interruption in gross motor skills, under which walking or maintaining balance falls. Activities such as playing sports and dancing also become complicated for the patient.

A definite cure for apraxia is absent. However, physical and occupational therapy can be proven useful in improving the situation. Under the process of antidote, one can find practising and repeating chores. It retrains the brain to perform movements accurately.

Difference Between Akinesia and Apraxia

  1. Akinesia is the inability to begin voluntary movements, while apraxia is the inability to execute voluntary movements.
  2. Akinesia occurs with other neurological conditions or side effects of medication. However, apraxia also arises from stroke, brain injury, and Alzheimer’s, damaging the brain’s motor planning and execution centers.
  3. In akinesia, one will witness slow initiation of voluntary movements and reduced spontaneous movement. On the other hand, in apraxia, the patient will face difficulty performing complex tasks.
  4. Physical examination and assessment of movement speed can tell if someone has akinesia, whereas observation of movement during complex tasks shows if someone has apraxia.
  5. Medications can treat akinesia, while physical and occupational therapy can improve apraxia.
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Comparison Between Akinesia and Apraxia

Parameter of ComparisonAkinesiaApraxia
DescriptionIt is the inability to initiate voluntary movements or a delay in initiating them.It is a neurological disorder affecting the ability to execute voluntary movements without the involvement of paralysis.
CauseIt can be caused by other neurological conditions or side effects of medication.Stroke, brain injury, and Alzheimer’s lead to damage to the brain’s motor planning and execution centers; this is the cause of apraxia.
SymptomsIn this disorder, one will witness slow initiation of voluntary movements along with reduced spontaneous movement.In this condition, one will notice difficulty performing complex tasks.
TreatmentIt is treated through medications that increase dopamine activity.Physical therapy and occupational therapy can mend this condition to a certain extent.
Associated conditionsParkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions.Stroke, brain injury, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease.
  1. https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/57/4/455.short
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0404.1989.tb03707.x

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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