Recovering the ability to walk is an important goal of physical therapy for patients who have survived cerebrovascular accident (stroke). Orthotics can provide a reduction in plantar flexion of the ankle, leading to greater stability in the stance phase of the gait cycle. Postural insoles can be used to reorganize the tone of muscle chains, which exerts an influence on postural control through correction reflexes. The aim of the present study was to perform kinematic and spatiotemporal analyses of gait in stroke survivors with hemiparesis during postural insole usage.
Material and Methods
Twenty stroke victims were randomly divided into two groups: 12 in the experimental group, who used insoles with corrective elements specifically designed for equinovarus foot, and eight in the control group, who used placebo insoles with no corrective elements. Both groups were also submitted to conventional physical therapy. The subjects were analyzed immediately following insole placement and after three months of insole usage. The SMART-D 140® system (BTS Engineering) with eight cameras sensitive to infrared light and the 32-channel SMART-D INTEGRATED WORKSTATION® were used for the three-dimensional gait evaluation.
Significant improvements were found in kinematic range of movement in the ankle and knee as well as gains in ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion in the experimental group in comparison to the control group after three months of using the insoles.
Postural insoles offer significant benefits to stroke survivors regarding the kinematics of gait, as evidenced by gains in ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion after three months of usage in combination with conventional physical therapy.