Impact of Body Weight Support Treadmill Training on gait recovery of individuals with stroke
Background: Restoration of independent gait in stroke patients is an essential part of the rehabilitation process, and is crucial for successful social and vocational reintegration. Gait restoration requires different techniques, and often demands considerable assistance from the therapist to help the subject support body weight and control balance. Considering that ground level is the most common locomotion surface, and that there is little information about individuals with stroke walking with body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT), it is important to investigate the use of BWSTT on ground level in these individuals to improve gait recovery.
Methods: Sixty-nine subjects were assigned to this experiment, of which twenty-six were normal subjects and forty-three were stroke subjects, who were randomly divided into two groups; twenty-one subjects for the control group, and twenty-two subjects for the experimental group. The control group underwent regular rehabilitation care plus conventional gait training, while the experimental group underwent regular rehabilitation care plus BWSTT. Measurements were recorded for mean sagittal kinematics values, spatial-temporal values, and FIM™ locomotion
Results: BWSTT proved superior to conventional gait training in sub-acute stroke subjects, resulting in better locomotor abilities. The use of BWSTT leads to significant improvements for most sagittal kinematics, spatial-temporal and all FIM™ locomotion measurements.
Conclusion: The BWSTT system enabled individuals with stroke to walk safely and without physical assistance. The positive results of training by the use of body weight support on a treadmill could be due to a task-oriented type of training.
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