Background and purpose: This case report describes implementation of a limb-loaded cycling (LLC) training program as a feasible exercise for people in early phases of locomotor training following stroke.
Case description: Two individuals with early-stage poststroke hemiplegia participated in the LLC program as an adjunct to physical therapy intervention. Performance of LLC involved cycling while supporting progressive amounts of applied load and weight shifting from one lower extremity to the other lower extremity. The LLC was conducted daily during 2 to 3 weeks of inpatient rehabilitation.
Outcomes: The LLC progressed with increases in weight bearing and force generation, as evidenced by larger amounts of limb loading during pedaling. The patients tolerated all loads without cardiorespiratory distress.
Discussion: Limb-loaded cycling can accommodate people with little force-generating capability or weight-bearing ability as they practice locomotor skills. Gains in locomotor ability may be aided by the addition of this exercise regimen to patients' daily physical therapy.