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, 87 (9), 1144-54

Gait Training Combining Partial Body-Weight Support, a Treadmill, and Functional Electrical Stimulation: Effects on Poststroke Gait

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Gait Training Combining Partial Body-Weight Support, a Treadmill, and Functional Electrical Stimulation: Effects on Poststroke Gait

Ana R R Lindquist et al. Phys Ther.

Abstract

Background and purpose: Treadmill training with harness support is a promising, task-oriented approach to restoring locomotor function in people with poststroke hemiparesis. Although the combined use of functional electrical stimulation (FES) and treadmill training with body-weight support (BWS) has been studied before, this combined intervention was compared with the Bobath approach as opposed to BWS alone. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the combined use of FES and treadmill training with BWS on walking functions and voluntary limb control in people with chronic hemiparesis.

Subjects: Eight people who were ambulatory after chronic stroke were evaluated.

Methods: An A(1)-B-A(2) single-case study design was applied. Phases A(1) and A(2) included 3 weeks of gait training on a treadmill with BWS, and phase B included 3 weeks of treadmill training plus FES applied to the peroneal nerve. The Stroke Rehabilitation Assessment of Movement was used to assess motor recovery, and a videography analysis was used to assess gait parameters.

Results: An improvement (from 54.9% to 71.0%) in motor function was found during phase B. The spatial and temporal variables cycle duration, stance duration, and cadence as well as cycle length symmetry showed improvements when phase B was compared with phases A(1) and A(2).

Discussion and conclusion: The combined use of FES and treadmill training with BWS led to an improvement in motor recovery and seemed to improve the gait pattern of subjects with hemiparesis, indicating the utility of this combination method during gait rehabilitation. In addition, this single-case series showed that this alternative method of gait training--treadmill training with BWS and FES--may decrease the number of people required to carry out the training.

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