Biomechanical impairments and gait adaptations post-stroke: multi-factorial associations

J Biomech. 2009 Aug 7;42(11):1673-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.04.015. Epub 2009 May 20.


Understanding the potential causes of both reduced gait speed and compensatory frontal plane kinematics during walking in individuals post-stroke may be useful in developing effective rehabilitation strategies. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to select the combination of paretic limb impairments (frontal and sagittal plane hip strength, sagittal plane knee and ankle strength, and multi-joint knee/hip torque coupling) which best estimate gait speed and compensatory pelvic obliquity velocities at toeoff. Compensatory behaviors were defined as deviations from control subjects' values. The gait speed model (n=18; p=0.003) revealed that greater hip abduction strength and multi-joint coupling of sagittal plane knee and frontal plane hip torques were associated with decreased velocity; however, gait speed was positively associated with paretic hip extension strength. Multi-joint coupling was the most influential predictor of gait speed. The second model (n=15; p<0.001) revealed that multi-joint coupling was associated with increased compensatory pelvic movement at toeoff; while hip extension and flexion and knee flexion strength were associated with reduced frontal plane pelvic compensations. In this case, hip extension strength had the greatest influence on pelvic behavior. The analyses revealed that different yet overlapping sets of single joint strength and multi-joint coupling measures were associated with gait speed and compensatory pelvic behavior during walking post-stroke. These findings provide insight regarding the potential impact of targeted rehabilitation paradigms on improving speed and compensatory kinematics following stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ankle Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation
  • Gait*
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation