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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2020 February;56(1):14-23

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.19.05907-0

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Stepping training with external feedback relating to lower limb support ability effectively improved complex motor activity in ambulatory patients with stroke: a randomized controlled trial

Sirisuda PHONTHEE 1, 2, Pipatana AMATACHAYA 1, 3, Thanat SOOKNUAN 1, 4, Sugalya AMATACHAYA 1, 2

1 Improvement to Physical Performance and Quality of Life (IPQ) Research Group, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 2 School of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand; 3 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, Nakhon Ratchasrima, Thailand; 4 Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand



BACKGROUND: Lower limb support ability is important for steady and efficient mobility, but previous data commonly involved training during double stance positions, with or without external feedback, using a complex and costly machine.
AIM: To compare the effects of stepping training with or without external feedback in relation to the lower limb support ability of the affected limb on the functional ability necessary for independence in individuals with stroke.
DESIGN: A single-blinded, randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Tertiary rehabilitation centers.
POPULATION: Ambulatory participants with stroke who walked independently over at least 10 meters with or without walking devices.
METHODS: Thirty-six participants were randomly arranged to be involved in a program of stepping training with or without external feedback related to the lower limb support ability of the affected limb (18 participants/group) for 30 minutes, followed by overground walking training for 10 minutes, 5 days/week over 4 weeks. The outcomes, including the lower limb support ability of the affected legs during stepping, functional ability and spatial walking data, were assessed prior to training, immediately after the first training session, and after 2- and 4-week training.
RESULTS: Participants demonstrated significant improvement in the amount of lower limb support ability, immediately after the first training with external feedback. Then, these participants showed further improvement in both the amount and duration of lower limb support ability, as well as the Timed Up and Go data after 2 and 4 weeks of training (P<0.05). This improvement was not found following control training.
CONCLUSIONS: The external feedback relating to lower limb support ability during stepping training effectively improved the movement stability and complex motor activity of ambulatory individuals with stroke who had long post-stroke time (approximately 3 years).
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: Stepping training protocols and feedback can be easily applied in various settings using the amount of body weight from an upright digital bathroom scale. Thus, the findings offer an alternative rehabilitation strategy for clinical, community and home-based settings for stroke individuals.


KEY WORDS: Hemiplegia; Stroke; Stroke rehabilitation; Weight-bearing; Physical therapy modalities

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