Gait asymmetry in community-ambulating stroke survivors

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Feb;89(2):304-10. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.08.142.


Objectives: To determine the prevalence and severity of asymmetry among independently ambulating stroke survivors and to establish the association between velocity and asymmetry.

Design: Descriptive analysis.

Setting: Research gait laboratory in a Canadian hospital.

Participants: Community-dwelling, independently ambulating participants (N=54) with chronic stroke.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Overground gait velocity, symmetry ratios for temporal and spatial step parameters, and motor impairment of the foot and leg. Spatiotemporal parameters were collected with a pressure-sensitive mat. Motor impairment was measured clinically with the Chedoke-McMaster Stroke Assessment.

Results: Thirty (55.5%) participants showed statistically significant temporal asymmetry and 18 (33.3%) exhibited statistically significant spatial asymmetry. Preferred velocity was negatively associated with temporal asymmetry (r=-.583, df=52, P<.001) but not spatial asymmetry (r=-.146, df=52, P=.29). Temporal asymmetry was also associated with motor recovery of the leg (r=-.644, df=35, P<.001) and foot (r=-.628, df=35, P<.001).

Conclusions: The results of the current study illustrate that temporal asymmetry can be found in many independently ambulating stroke patients. The work highlights the need for a standard assessment of poststroke gait symmetry in light of the complex relationship with motor impairment and velocity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / epidemiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation