Patients with stroke generally have diminished balance and gait. Mobilization with movement (MWM) can be used with manual force applied by a therapist to enhance talus gliding movement. Furthermore, the weight-bearing position during the lunge may enhance the stretch force.
This study aimed to compare the effects of a 4-week program of MWM training with those of static muscle stretching (SMS). Ankle dorsiflexion passive range of motion (DF-PROM), static balance ability (SBA), the Berg balance scale (BBS), and gait parameters (gait speed and cadence) were measured in patients with chronic stroke.
Twenty patients with chronic stroke participated in this study. Participants were randomized to either the MWM (n = 10) or the SMS (n = 10) group. Patients in both groups underwent standard rehabilitation therapy for 30 min per session. In addition, MWM and SMS techniques were performed three times per week for 4 weeks. Ankle DF-PROM, SBA, BBS score, and gait parameters were measured after 4 weeks of training.
After 4 weeks of training, the MWM group showed significant improvement in all outcome measures compared with baseline (p < 0.05). Furthermore, SBA, BBS, and cadence showed greater improvement in the MWM group compared to the SMS group (p < 0.05).
This study demonstrated that MWM training, combined with standard rehabilitation, improved ankle DF-PROM, SBA, BBS scores, and gait speed and cadence. Thus, MWM may be an effective treatment for patients with chronic stroke.