This study is a single blind randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of virtual reality-based postural control training on the gait ability in patients with chronic stroke. Sixteen subjects were randomly assigned to either experimental group (VR, n= 8) or control group (CPT, n= 8). Subjects in both groups received conventional physical therapy for 60 min per day, five days per week during a period of four weeks. Subjects in the VR group received additional augmented reality-based training for 30 min per day, three days per week during a period of four weeks. The subjects were evaluated one week before and after participating in a four week training and follow-up at one month post-training. Data derived from the gait analyses included spatiotemporal gait parameters, 10 meters walking test (10 mWT). In the gait parameters, subjects in the VR group showed significant improvement, except for cadence at post-training and follow-up within the experimental group. However, no obvious significant improvement was observed within the control group. In between group comparisons, the experimental group (VR group) showed significantly greater improvement only in stride length compared with the control group (P< 0.05), however, no significant difference was observed in other gait parameters. In conclusion, we demonstrate significant improvement in gait ability in chronic stroke patients who received virtual reality based postural control training. These findings suggest that virtual reality (VR) postural control training using real-time information may be a useful approach for enhancement of gait ability in patients with chronic stroke.
Keywords: Gait ability; Postural control; Stroke; Virtual reality.