Objective: The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of whole-body vibration on lower limb muscle architecture, muscle strength, and balance in stroke patients during a period of 3 mos.
Design: The inclusion criteria were having had ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke at least 6 mos before the study and a National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of greater than 1 and less than 20. The patients were randomly divided into two groups: an experimental group (n = 11, six men and five women; age, 62.4 ± 10.7 yrs; height, 1.64 ± 0.07 m; mass, 69.4 ± 12.9 kg) and a sham group (n = 9, five men and four women; age, 64.4 ± 7.6 yrs; height, 1.62 ± 0.07 m; mass, 75.0 ± 15.8 kg). The experimental group received a whole-body vibration treatment, with an increase in frequency, sets, and time per set during 17 sessions. The sham group performed the same exercises as that of the experimental group but was not exposed to vibration. Outcome variables included the muscle architecture (the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis, and the medial gastrocnemius), the maximal isometric voluntary contraction of the knee extensors, and the Berg Balance Scale.
Results: There were no significant differences between the groups on the primary outcomes of lower limb muscle architecture, muscle strength, and balance.
Conclusions: It seems that whole-body vibration exercise does not augment the increase in neuromuscular performance and lower limb muscle architecture induced by isometric exercise alone in stroke patients.