[Purpose] The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of robot-assisted gait training combined with functional electrical stimulation on locomotor recovery in patients with chronic stroke.
[Subjects] The 20 subjects were randomly assigned into either an experimental group (n = 10) that received a combination of robot-assisted gait training and functional electrical stimulation on the ankle dorsiflexor of the affected side or a control group (n = 10) that received robot-assisted gait training only.
[Methods] Both groups received the respective therapies for 30 min/day, 3 days/week for 5 weeks. The outcome was measured using the Modified Motor Assessment Scale (MMAS), Timed Up-and-Go Test (TUG), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), and gait parameters through gait analysis (Vicon 370 motion analysis system, Oxford Metrics Ltd., Oxford, UK). All the variables were measured before and after training.
[Results] Step length and maximal knee extension were significantly greater than those before training in the experimental group only. Maximal Knee flexion showed a significant difference between the experimental and control groups. The MMAS, BBS, and TUG scores improved significantly after training compared with before training in both groups.
[Conclusion] We suggest that the combination of robot-assisted gait training and functional electrical stimulation encourages patients to actively participate in training because it facilitates locomotor recovery without the risk of adverse effects.