The Effect of Dry Needling on Lower Limb Dysfunction in Poststroke Survivors

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2020 Jun;29(6):104814. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2020.104814. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


Background: Spasticity is one of the main complications in poststroke survivors leading to difficulties in walking and standing resulting in high levels of disability.

Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of deep dry needling on lower limb dysfunction in poststroke spastic patients.

Methods: A randomized clinical trial conducted in poststroke survivors who were assigned to one of 2 groups: Deep dry needling (intervention group) and sham dry needling (control group). The primary outcome measures were Modified Modified Ashworth Scale (MMAS) and functional tests (timed up and go test, 10-meter walk test). Secondary outcome measures were active ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (AROM), passive ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (PROM), single leg stance test, and Barthel index. All measurements were assessed at baseline (T0), immediately after the third session 1 week later (T1), and 1 month after the end of the intervention (T2).

Results: We recruited 24 patients (71% male; mean age 57 ± 10 years; 26.4 ± 1.8 kg•m-2; time since event: 25.2 ± 12.5 months). There were significant improvements in MMAS, timed up and go test, 10-meter walk test, Barthel scale, and PROM (P < .05) in the intervention group compared to controls across the time-points. There were no significant improvements in AROM assessments (P > .05).

Conclusions: Deep dry needling decreases muscle spasticity and improves lower limb function and gait speed in poststroke survivors.

Keywords: Stroke; deep dry needling; sham dry needling; spasticity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dry Needling* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Spasticity / diagnosis
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Muscle Spasticity / therapy*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / innervation*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking Speed*