A soft supernumerary hand for rehabilitation in sub-acute stroke: a pilot study

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 13;12(1):21504. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-25029-0.


In patients with subacute stroke, task specific training (TST) has been shown to accelerate functional recovery of the upper limb. However, many patients do not have sufficient active extension of the fingers to perform this treatment. In these patients, here we propose a new rehabilitation technique in which TST is performed through a soft robotic hand (SoftHand-X). In short, the extension of the robotic fingers is controlled by the patient through his residual, albeit minimal, active extension of the fingers or wrist, while the patient was required to relax the muscles to achieve full flexion of the robotic fingers. TST with SoftHand-X was attempted in 27 subacute stroke patients unable to perform TST due to insufficient active extension of the fingers. Four patients (14.8%) were able to perform the proposed treatment (10 daily sessions of 60 min each). They reported an excellent level of participation. After the treatment, both clinical score of spasticity and its electromyographic correlate (stretch reflex) decreased. In subacute stroke patients, TST using SoftHand-X is a well-accepted treatment, resulting in a decrease of spasticity. At present, it can be applied only in a small proportion of the patients who cannot perform conventional TST, though extensions are possible.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Pilot Projects
  • Stroke Rehabilitation* / methods
  • Stroke*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Upper Extremity