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Bradykinesia vs. Hypokinesia: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Published on May 5, 2024
Bradykinesia is a slowing down of voluntary movements, while hypokinesia refers to reduced movement amplitude or range; both are often seen in Parkinson's disease.

Key Differences

Bradykinesia refers to the slowness in the initiation and execution of movement, often seen in Parkinson's disease. It is characterized by a noticeable delay in starting movements and a gradual reduction in speed and range of motion. Hypokinesia, on the other hand, specifically denotes a decreased range or amplitude of movement. While bradykinesia emphasizes the speed aspect, hypokinesia focuses on the scale or extent of movements.
In clinical terms, bradykinesia is a key symptom in Parkinsonian syndromes, affecting both automatic and voluntary movements. It manifests as a general reduction in speed and may include difficulties with fine motor tasks. Hypokinesia, while related, specifically affects the size of movements. For instance, a person with hypokinesia may take smaller steps or have a diminished facial expression, not necessarily slower, but less pronounced.
The relationship between bradykinesia and hypokinesia is often intertwined in neurological disorders. Bradykinesia's impact on movement speed can lead to a perception of reduced movement (hypokinesia), especially in repetitive tasks like walking or typing. Conversely, hypokinesia can make movements appear slower because they are less pronounced or extensive.
Diagnosing bradykinesia requires observing the slowing down of movements, especially repetitive actions. Hypokinesia, however, is identified by observing the diminished scale of movements. Both conditions are critical in the diagnosis and management of Parkinson's disease and similar movement disorders.
Treatment approaches for bradykinesia and hypokinesia may overlap, as they are often present together in conditions like Parkinson's disease. However, specific therapeutic strategies might focus on improving movement speed in bradykinesia and increasing movement amplitude in hypokinesia, employing medication, physical therapy, and sometimes surgical interventions.

Comparison Chart


Slowness of movement.
Reduced amplitude of movement.

Primary Characteristic

Delay in initiating and executing movements.
Decreased range or scale of movements.

Clinical Significance

Key symptom in Parkinsonian syndromes.
Often occurs alongside bradykinesia in movement disorders.


Based on movement speed, especially in repetitive actions.
Identified by observing the scale of movements.

Treatment Focus

Improving movement speed.
Increasing movement amplitude.

Bradykinesia and Hypokinesia Definitions


A common symptom in Parkinson's disease involving slow movements.
Bradykinesia affected his ability to participate in fast-paced activities.


Limited range of motion, often seen in neurological disorders.
Hypokinesia caused her steps to be shorter than usual.


Slowness in initiating voluntary movement.
Her bradykinesia made it difficult to start walking quickly.


Reduction in the extent of muscle movements.
The dancer's hypokinesia was evident in her restricted arm movements.


Reduction in speed of movement execution.
The patient's bradykinesia was evident when he tried to write.


Decreased amplitude in movement.
His hypokinesia was noticeable in his small handwriting.


Delay in physical response to a desired movement.
Due to bradykinesia, it took longer for him to reach for objects.


A symptom characterized by reduced movement scale.
Her hypokinesia made activities like reaching overhead difficult.


Sluggishness in performing routine movements.
Bradykinesia made everyday tasks like buttoning a shirt challenging.


Subdued or diminished bodily movements.
His facial expressions showed hypokinesia, with less expressiveness.


(medicine) Slowness of movement.


(pathology) Slowed or diminished movement of the body.


What is bradykinesia?

Bradykinesia is the slowness in the initiation and execution of movement.

Is bradykinesia the same as paralysis?

No, bradykinesia is slowness in movement, not a complete lack of movement.

How is bradykinesia diagnosed?

It's diagnosed by observing slow initiation and execution of movements.

What is hypokinesia?

Hypokinesia is the reduction in the amplitude or scale of movement.

Are there specific tests for hypokinesia?

Hypokinesia is diagnosed based on clinical observation of movement scale.

Can hypokinesia occur alone?

While it often occurs with bradykinesia, it can also be seen independently.

What causes bradykinesia?

Bradykinesia is often caused by neurological conditions like Parkinson's disease.

Can bradykinesia worsen over time?

In progressive disorders like Parkinson's, it can worsen without treatment.

Is bradykinesia a sign of aging?

While it can occur in older adults, it's not a normal part of aging.

Can bradykinesia be treated?

Yes, treatments may include medication, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

What causes hypokinesia?

Like bradykinesia, it's often caused by neurological disorders like Parkinson's.

Is hypokinesia always linked to Parkinson's disease?

No, it can also be seen in other neurological conditions.

Can medications for Parkinson's help with bradykinesia?

Yes, certain medications can improve movement speed and fluidity.

Does bradykinesia affect all types of movements?

It can affect both voluntary and automatic movements.

Does exercise help with bradykinesia?

Regular exercise can help maintain mobility and reduce symptoms.

Are there lifestyle changes that help with hypokinesia?

Physical therapy and regular exercise can be beneficial.

Is hypokinesia reversible?

It depends on the underlying cause; some cases may improve with treatment.

How is hypokinesia different from weakness?

Hypokinesia refers to reduced movement scale, not muscle strength.

Can hypokinesia affect speech?

Yes, it can result in softer, less pronounced speech.

Is hypokinesia a permanent condition?

The permanence depends on its cause and the effectiveness of treatment.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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