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Randomized Controlled Trial
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Combined Effects of Isokinetic Training and Botulinum Toxin Type A on Spastic Equinus Foot in Patients With Chronic Stroke: A Pilot, Single-blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

Randomized Controlled Trial

Combined Effects of Isokinetic Training and Botulinum Toxin Type A on Spastic Equinus Foot in Patients With Chronic Stroke: A Pilot, Single-blind, Randomized Controlled Trial

Nicoletta Cinone et al. Toxins (Basel).


Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) has been shown effective for poststroke lower limb spasticity. Following injections, a wide range of multidisciplinary approach has been previously provided. The purpose of this pilot, single-blind, randomized controlled trial was to determine whether BoNT-A combined with a regime of a four-week ankle isokinetic treatment has a positive effect on function and spasticity, compared with BoNT-A alone. Secondly, the validity of the use of an isokinetic dynamometer to measure the stretch reflex at the ankle joint and residual strength has been investigated. Twenty-five chronic stroke patients were randomized to receive combined treatment (n = 12; experimental group) or BoNT-A alone (n = 13; control group). Outcome measures were based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. An isokinetic dynamometer was also used for stretch reflex and strength assessment. Patients were evaluated at baseline (t0), after five (t1) and eight weeks after the injection (t2). The experimental group reported significantly greater improvements on lower limb spasticity, especially after eight weeks from baseline. Gait speed (10-m walk test) and walking capacity (6-min walking test) revealed statistically significantly better improvement in the experimental than in control group. Peak resistive ankle torque during growing angular velocities showed a significant reduction at the higher velocities after BoNT-A injections in the experimental group. Peak dorsiflexor torque was significantly increased in the experimental group and peak plantarflexor torque was significantly decreased in control group. Alternative rehabilitation strategies that combine BoNT-A and an intense ankle isokinetic treatment are effective in reducing tone and improving residual strength and motor function in patients with chronic hemiparesis.

Keywords: BoNT-A; botulinum toxin A; equinus foot; isokinetic; poststroke; spasticity.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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