Although the Kinect gaming system (Microsoft Corp, Redmond, WA) has been shown to be of therapeutic benefit in rehabilitation, the applicability of Kinect-based virtual reality (VR) training to improve motor function following a stroke has not been investigated. This study aimed to investigate the effects of VR training, using the Xbox Kinect-based game system, on the motor recovery of patients with chronic hemiplegic stroke.
This was a randomized controlled trial. Twenty patients with hemiplegic stroke were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the control group. Participants in the intervention group (n = 10) received 30 minutes of conventional physical therapy plus 30 minutes of VR training using Xbox Kinect-based games, and those in the control group (n = 10) received 30 minutes of conventional physical therapy only. All interventions consisted of daily sessions for a 6-week period. All measurements using Fugl–Meyer Assessment (FMA-LE), the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the Timed Up and Go test (TUG), and the 10-meter Walk Test (10mWT) were performed at baseline and at the end of the 6 weeks.
The scores on the FMA-LE, BBS, TUG, and 10mWT improved significantly from baseline to post intervention in both the intervention and the control groups after training. The pre-to-post difference scores on BBS, TUG, and 10mWT for the intervention group were significantly more improved than those for the control group (P < .05).
Evidence from the present study supports the use of additional VR training with the Xbox Kinect gaming system as an effective therapeutic approach for improving motor function during stroke rehabilitation.