Posts Tagged gait

[ARTILE] Changes in gait kinematics and muscle activity in stroke patients wearing various arm slings – Full Text


Stroke patients often use various arm slings, but the effects of different slings on the joint kinematics and muscle activity of the arm in the gait have not been investigated. The effects of joint kinematics and muscle activity in the gait were investigated to provide suggestions for gait training for stroke patients. In all, 10 chronic stroke patients were voluntarily recruited. An eight-camera three-dimensional motion analysis system was used to measure joint kinematics while walking; simultaneously, electromyography data were collected for the anterior and posterior deltoids and latissimus dorsi. The amplitude of pelvic rotation on the less-affected side differed significantly among the different arm slings (P<0.05). Changes in the knee kinematics of the less-affected side also differed significantly (P<0.05), while there were no significant differences in the muscle activity of the affected arm. In stroke patients, an extended arm sling is more useful than no sling or a flexed arm sling in terms of the amplitude of the rotation of the less-affected pelvic side in the stance phase while walking. The less-affected knee joint is flexed more without a sling than with any sling. All arm slings support the extension of the contralateral knee.


Stroke is a major cause of morbidity worldwide. Approximately 800,000 patients have strokes annually (Lloyd-Jones et al., 2010). Patients with stroke have disabilities that result from paralysis, and most complain of difficulty walking (Jørgensen et al., 1995). Bovonsunthonchai et al. (2012) showed that the affected upper extremity is important for improving the performance and coordination of gait in stroke patients. In addition, the movement of the upper extremity improves the range of motion at the ankle as well as trunk stability (Stephenson et al., 2010).
Stroke patients often develop a subluxation of the shoulder on the affected side, because they can no longer support the weight of their own arm due to paralysis (Griffin et al., 1986). Consequently, arm slings are often necessary. Stroke patients often use a hemisling. Faghri et al. (1994) stated that use of a hemisling induced flexion synergy patterns of the upper trunk and delayed functional activity. However, few studies have examined how different arm slings, including a hemisling, affect the gait patterns of stroke patients. Reported studies have examined the hemisling in terms of the gait patterns (Yavuzer and Ergin, 2002), balance (Acar and Karatas, 2010), and energy consumption (Han et al., 2011) of stroke patients.
There are various types of arm sling, such as the flexed sling (a single-strap hemisling), extended sling (Bobath sling, Rolyan sling), GivMohr sling (Dieruf et al., 2005), and elastic arm sling (Hwang and An, 2015). The sling supports some of the weight of the arm and simultaneously limits the motion of the upper extremities. Pontzer et al. (2009)suggested that the arms serve as passive mass dampers to decrease the rotation of the torso and head. Lieberman et al. (20072008) also held that the arms serve as passive dampers to minimise vertical motion. The trunk and shoulders act as elastic linkages between the pelvis, shoulder girdle, and arms (Pontzer et al., 2009).
Some studies have examined the activities of the arm muscle during walking (Lieberman et al., 2007Prentice et al., 2001), while other studies have found that most of the arm swing is passive, while a small torque may actively occur in shoulder rotation (Jackson et al., 1978Kubo et al., 2004). The muscle activity of the upper extremities is still the subject of debate (Collins et al., 2009Kubo et al., 2004Kuhtz-Buschbeck and Jing, 2012). However, the restrictive effects and support provided by various arm slings could have different effects on the muscle activities of the affected arm in stroke patients.
Therefore, we investigated how the muscle activities of the affected arm and kinematic data taken during walking are influenced by flexion-type (hemisling), extension-type (Rolyan sling), and elastic arm slings under elastic tension. We discuss which arm should be used for clinical gait training.

Continue —> Changes in gait kinematics and muscle activity in stroke patients wearing various arm slings – ScienceCentral

Fig. 1 The conditions of the various arm slings: (A) none, (B) a flexed type, (C) an extended type, and (D) an elastic type.

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[ARTICLE] Movement visualisation in virtual reality rehabilitation of the lower limb: a systematic review – Full Text



Virtual reality (VR) based applications play an increasing role in motor rehabilitation. They provide an interactive and individualized environment in addition to increased motivation during motor tasks as well as facilitating motor learning through multimodal sensory information. Several previous studies have shown positive effect of VR-based treatments for lower extremity motor rehabilitation in neurological conditions, but the characteristics of these VR applications have not been systematically investigated. The visual information on the user’s movement in the virtual environment, also called movement visualisation (MV), is a key element of VR-based rehabilitation interventions. The present review proposes categorization of Movement Visualisations of VR-based rehabilitation therapy for neurological conditions and also summarises current research in lower limb application.


A systematic search of literature on VR-based intervention for gait and balance rehabilitation in neurological conditions was performed in the databases namely; MEDLINE (Ovid), AMED, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycInfo. Studies using non-virtual environments or applications to improve cognitive function, activities of daily living, or psychotherapy were excluded. The VR interventions of the included studies were analysed on their MV.


In total 43 publications were selected based on the inclusion criteria. Seven distinct MV groups could be differentiated: indirect MV (N = 13), abstract MV (N = 11), augmented reality MV (N = 9), avatar MV (N = 5), tracking MV (N = 4), combined MV (N = 1), and no MV (N = 2). In two included articles the visualisation conditions included different MV groups within the same study. Additionally, differences in motor performance could not be analysed because of the differences in the study design. Three studies investigated different visualisations within the same MV group and hence limited information can be extracted from one study.


The review demonstrates that individuals’ movements during VR-based motor training can be displayed in different ways. Future studies are necessary to fundamentally explore the nature of this VR information and its effect on motor outcome.


Virtual reality (VR) in neurorehabilitation has emerged as a fairly recent approach that shows great promise to enhance the integration of virtual limbs in one`s body scheme [1] and motor learning in general [2]. Virtual Rehabilitation is a “group [of] all forms of clinical intervention (physical, occupational, cognitive, or psychological) that are based on, or augmented by, the use of Virtual Reality, augmented reality and computing technology. The term applies equally to interventions done locally, or at a distance (tele-rehabilitation)” [3]. The main objectives of intervention for facilitating motor learning within this definition are to (1) provide repetitive and customized high intensity training, (2) relay back information on patients’ performance via multimodal feedback, and (3) improve motivation [24]. VR therapies or interventions are based on real-time motion tracking and computer graphic technologies displaying the patients’ behaviour during a task in a virtual environment.

The interaction of the user and Virtual environment can be described as a perception and action loop [5]. This motor performance is displayed in the virtual environment and subsequently, the system provides multimodal feedback related to movement execution. Through external (e.g. vision) and internal (proprioception) senses the on-line sensory feedback is integrated into the patient’s mental representation. If necessary, the motor plan is corrected in order to achieve the given goal [5].

A previous Cochrane Review from Laver, George, Thomas, Deutsch, and Crotty [2] on Virtual Reality for stroke rehabilitation showed positive effects of VR intervention for motor rehabilitation in people post-stroke. However, grouped analysis from this review on recommendation for VR intervention provides inconclusive evidence. The author further comments that “[…] virtual reality interventions may vary greatly […], it is unclear what characteristics of the intervention are most important” ([2], p. 14).

Virtual rehabilitation system provides three different types of information to the patient: movement visualisation, performance feedback and context information [6]. During a motor task the patient’s movements are captured and represented in the virtual environment (movement visualisation). According to the task success, information about the accomplished goal or a required movement alteration is transmitted through one or several sensory modalities (performance feedback). Finally, these two VR features are embedded in a virtual world (context information) that can vary from a very realistic to an abstract, unrealistic or reduced, technical environment.

Performance feedback often relies on theories of motor learning and is probably the most studied information type within VR-based motor rehabilitation. Moreover, context information is primarily not designed with a therapeutic purpose. Movement observation, however, plays an important role for central sensory stimulation therapies, such as mirror therapy or mental training. The observation or imagination of body movements facilitates motor recovery [789] and provides new possibilities for cortical reorganization and enhancement of functional mobility. Thus, it appears that movement visualisation may also play an important role in motor rehabilitation [101112], although this aspect is yet to be systematically investigated [13].

The main goal of the present review is to identify various movement visualisation groups in VR-based motor interventions for lower extremities, by means of a systematic literature search. Secondarily, the included studies are further analysed for their effect on motor learning. This will help guide future research in rehabilitation using VR.

An interim analysis of the review published in 2013 showed six MV groups for upper and lower extremity training and additional two MV groups directed only towards lower extremity training. In this paper, we analysed only studies involving lower limb training, leading to a revision and expansion of the previously published MV groups findings [131415].

Continue —> Movement visualisation in virtual reality rehabilitation of the lower limb: a systematic review | BioMedical Engineering OnLine | Full Text

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Provisional Abstract:
Background and Purpose: This case report describes a task-specific program for gait and functional recovery in a young man with severe chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Case Description: The individual was a 26-year-old man 4 years post TBI with severe motor impairments who had not walked outside of therapy since his injury. He had received extensive gait training prior to initiation of services. His goal was to recover the ability to walk.

Intervention: The primary focus of the interventions was the restoration of gait. A variety of interventions were used, including locomotor treadmill training, electrical stimulation, orthoses and specialized assistive devices. A total of 79 treatments were delivered over a period of 62 weeks.

Outcomes: At the conclusion of therapy, the client was able to walk independently with a gait trainer for over 3000 feet and walked in the community with the assistance of his mother using a rocker bottom crutch for distances of up to 350 feet.

Discussion: Given the chronicity of this individual’s injury, the magnitude of his functional improvements were unexpected. However, very intentional interventions were selected in the development of his treatment plan. His potential was realized by structuring practice of the salient task, i.e. walking, with adequate intensity and frequency.

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[VIDEO] Fourier X1 Exoskeleton – Fourier Intelligence – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 23 Μαρ 2017

At Fourier Intelligence, we do not believe these people are fated to sit on the wheelchair in their rest life. To let them stand up, and to allow them to walk again, we started to develop a genuinely new exoskeleton products- The Fourier X1

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[ARTICLE] Effectiveness of robotic assisted rehabilitation for mobility and functional ability in adult stroke patients: a systematic review protocol – Full Text


Review question/objective: The objective of this review is to synthesize the best available evidence on the effectiveness of robotic assistive devices in the rehabilitation of adult stroke patients for recovery of impairments in the upper and lower limbs. The secondary objective is to investigate the sustainability of treatment effects associated with use of robotic devices.

The specific review question to be addressed is: can robotic assistive devices help adult stroke patients regain motor movement of their upper and lower limbs?


Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and is the third most common cause of mortality in developed countries with 15 million people suffering a stroke yearly.1 Different parts of the brain control different bodily functions. If a person survives a stroke, the effects can vary, depending on the location of brain damage, severity and duration of the stroke. Broadly, the effects of stroke can be physical, cognitive or emotional in nature. In terms of the physical effects of stroke, the loss of motor abilities of the limbs presents significant challenges for patients, as their mobility and activities of daily living (ADLs) are affected. The upper or lower limbs can experience weakness (paresis) or paralysis (plegia), with the most common type of limb impairment being hemiparesis, which affects eight out of 10 stroke survivors.2 Other physical effects of stroke are loss of visual fields, vision perception, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), apraxia of speech, incontinence, joint pain or neuropathic pain (caused by inability of the brain to correctly interpret sensory signals in response to stimuli on the affected limbs). Cognitive effects of stroke are aphasia, memory loss and vascular dementia. Stroke patients can lose the ability to understand speech or the capacity to read, think or reason, and normal mental tasks can present big challenges, affecting their quality of life. The drastic changes in physical and cognitive abilities caused by stroke also lead to emotional effects for stroke patients. Stroke survivors can experience depression when they encounter problems in doing tasks that they can easily do pre-stroke. Along with depression, they can experience a lack of motivation and mental fatigue.

For stroke patients, rehabilitation is the pathway to regaining or managing their impaired functions. There is no definite end to recovery but the most rapid improvement is within the first six months post stroke.3 Before a patient undergoes rehabilitation, an assessment is first done to determine if a patient is medically stable and fit for a rehabilitation program. If the patient is assessed to be suitable, then depending on the level of rehabilitative supervision required, the patient could undergo rehabilitation in various settings – as an in-patient/outpatient (at either a hospital or nursing facility) or at home.3,4Rehabilitation should be administered by a multi-disciplinary team of physiotherapists, occupational therapist, speech therapist and neuropsychologists, who work together to offer an integrated, holistic rehabilitation therapy.4 Depending on the type of impairment, rehabilitation specialists will assess the appropriate therapies needed and set realistic goals for patients to achieve. Generally, stroke patients should be given a minimum of 45 min for each therapy session over at least five days per week, as long as the patient can tolerate the rehabilitation regimen.3

One of the main goals in stroke rehabilitation is the restoration of motor skills, and this involves patients undergoing repetitive, high-intensity, task-specific exercises that enable them to regain their motor and functional abilities.5,6 It is theorized that the brain is plastic in nature and that repetitive exercises over long periods can enable the brain to adapt and regain the motor functionality that has been repeatedly stimulated.7This involves the formation of new neuronal interconnections that enable the re-transmission of motor signals.8

Source: Effectiveness of robotic assisted rehabilitation for mobilit… : JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports

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[ARTICLE] A wearable exoskeleton suit for motion assistance to paralysed patients – Full Text



The number of patients paralysed due to stroke, spinal cord injury, or other related diseases is increasing. In order to improve the physical and mental health of these patients, robotic devices that can help them to regain the mobility to stand and walk are highly desirable. The aim of this study is to develop a wearable exoskeleton suit to help paralysed patients regain the ability to stand up/sit down (STS) and walk.


A lower extremity exoskeleton named CUHK-EXO was developed with considerations of ergonomics, user-friendly interface, safety, and comfort. The mechanical structure, human-machine interface, reference trajectories of the exoskeleton hip and knee joints, and control architecture of CUHK-EXO were designed. Clinical trials with a paralysed patient were performed to validate the effectiveness of the whole system design.


With the assistance provided by CUHK-EXO, the paralysed patient was able to STS and walk. As designed, the actual joint angles of the exoskeleton well followed the designed reference trajectories, and assistive torques generated from the exoskeleton actuators were able to support the patient’s STS and walking motions.


The whole system design of CUHK-EXO is effective and can be optimised for clinical application. The exoskeleton can provide proper assistance in enabling paralysed patients to STS and walk.

Continue —> A wearable exoskeleton suit for motion assistance to paralysed patients


Figure 1

Figure 1. The wearable exoskeleton suit CUHK-EXO. (A) A patient with the wearable exoskeleton suit CUHK-EXO supported by a pair of smart crutches; (B) diagram of the overall mechanical structure of CUHK-EXO; (C) waist structure of CUHK-EXO; (D) thigh structure of CUHK-EXO; (E) shank structure of CUHK-EXO. (F) foot structure of CUHK-EXO.

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[VIDEO] Functional electrical stimulation (FES) talk with Christine Singleton and Sarah Joiner – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 22 Μαρ 2017

Lead Clinical Physiotherapist Christine Singleton and Sarah Joiner who has MS discuss Functional electrical stimulation (FES), how it works, who can use it, how to wear it, does it make a difference and how can you get referred for it. For more information about FES visit our website…

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[Abstract] Single Session of Functional Electrical Stimulation−Assisted Walking Produces Corticomotor Symmetry Changes Related to Changes in Poststroke Walking Mechanics


Background: Recent research demonstrated that symmetry of corticomotor drive to paretic and nonparetic plantarflexor muscles are related to the biomechanical ankle moment strategy that individuals with chronic stroke used to achieve their greatest walking speeds. Rehabilitation strategies that promote corticomotor balance could potentially improve post-stroke walking mechanics and enhance functional ambulation.

Objective: To 1) test the effectiveness of a single session of gait training using functional electrical stimulation (FES) to improve plantarflexor corticomotor symmetry and plantarflexion ankle moment symmetry and 2) determine if changes in corticomotor symmetry relate to changes in ankle moment symmetry within the session.

Design: A repeated measures cross-over study.

Methods: On separate days, twenty individuals with chronic stroke completed a session of treadmill walking either with or without the use of FES to their ankle dorsi- and plantarflexors muscles. We calculated plantarflexor corticomotor symmetry using transcranial magnetic stimulation and plantarflexion ankle moment symmetry during walking between the paretic and nonparetic limbs before and after each session. We compared changes and tested relationships between corticomotor and ankle moment symmetry following each session.

Results: Following the session with FES there was an increase in plantarflexor corticomotor symmetry that was related to the observed increase in ankle moment symmetry. In contrast, following the session without FES there were no changes in corticomotor symmetry or ankle moment symmetry.

Limitations: No stratification was made based on lesion size, location, or clinical severity.

Conclusions: For the first time, these findings demonstrate the ability of a single session of gait training with FES to induce positive corticomotor plasticity in individuals in the chronic stage of stroke recovery and provide insight into the neurophysiologic mechanisms underlying improvements in biomechanical walking function.

Source: Single Session of Functional Electrical Stimulation−Assisted Walking Produces Corticomotor Symmetry Changes Related to Changes in Poststroke Walking Mechanics | Physical Therapy | Oxford Academic

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[ARTICLE] Short-term effects of physiotherapy combining repetitive facilitation exercises and orthotic treatment in chronic post-stroke patients – Full Text PDF


[Purpose] This study investigated the short-term effects of a combination therapy consisting of repetitive facilitative exercises and orthotic treatment.

[Subjects and Methods] The subjects were chronic post-stroke patients (n=27; 24 males and 3 females; 59.3 ± 12.4 years old; duration after onset: 35.7 ± 28.9 months) with limited mobility and motor function. Each subject received combination therapy consisting of repetitive facilitative exercises for the hemiplegic lower limb and gait training with an ankle-foot orthosis for 4 weeks. The Fugl-Meyer assessment of the lower extremity, the Stroke Impairment Assessment Set as a measure of motor performance, the Timed Up & Go test, and the 10-m walk test as a measure of functional ambulation were evaluated before and after the combination therapy intervention.

[Results] The findings of the Fugl-Meyer assessment, Stroke Impairment Assessment Set, Timed Up & Go test, and 10-m walk test significantly improved after the intervention. Moreover, the results of the 10-m walk test at a fast speed reached the minimal detectible change threshold (0.13 m/s).

[Conclusion] Short-term physiotherapy combining repetitive facilitative exercises and orthotic treatment may be more effective than the conventional neurofacilitation therapy, to improve the lower-limb motor performance and functional ambulation of chronic post-stroke patients.



The mobility of many stroke survivorsislimited, and most identify walking as a top priority for rehabilitation1) . One way to manage ambulatory difficulties is with an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) or a foot-drop splint, which aims to stabilize the foot and ankle while weight-bearing and lift the toes while stepping1) . In stroke rehabilitation, various approaches, including robotic assistance, strength training, and task-related/virtual reality techniques, have been shown to improve motor function2) . The benefits of a high intensity stroke rehabilitation program are well established, and although no clear guidelines exist regarding the best levels of intensity in practice, the need for its incorporation into a therapy program is widely acknowledged2) . Repetitive facilitative exercises (RFE), which combine a high repetition rate and neurofacilitation, are a recently developed approach to rehabilitation of stroke-related limb impairment2–5) . In the RFE program, therapists use muscle spindle stretching and skin-generated reflexes to assist the patient’s efforts to move an affected joint5) . Previous studies have shown that an RFE program improved lower-limb motor performance (Brunnstrom Recovery Stage, foot tapping, and lower-limb strength) and the 10-m walk test in patients with brain damage3) . An AFO is an assistive device to help stroke patients with hemiplegia walk and stand. A properly prescribed AFO can improve gait performance and control abnormal kinematics arising from coordination deficits6) . Gait training with an AFO has been also reported to improve gait speed and balance in post-stroke patients7, 8) . Therefore, we hypothesized that short-term physiotherapy combining RFE and orthotic treatment would improve both lower-extremity motor performance and functional ambulation. The present study aimed to confirm the efficacy of a combination therapy consisting of RFE for the hemiplegic lower limb and gait training with AFO.

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[commentary] Gait and balance training using virtual reality is more effective for improving gait and balance ability after stroke than conventional training without virtual reality.


Virtual reality technology, consisting of computer simulations to artificially generate sensory information in the form of a virtual environment that is interactive and perceived as similar to the real world, is recognised as a novel intervention tool in stroke rehabilitation. This timely systematic review addressed the effectiveness of virtual reality training on gait and balance using commonly assessed clinical outcome measures. The meta-analyses conducted on these outcomes all favoured virtual reality training when the time-dose was matched between balance and gait training, with and without virtual reality. Virtual reality-based rehabilitation should thus be considered to be more than an adjunct to conventional gait training, which is recommended by a recent update on stroke rehabilitation best practice.1

While virtual reality offers the opportunity to create unique and customisable interventions that are unavailable or readily accomplished in the real world, its clinical implementation may be challenging. Diverse virtual reality tools exist; they range from computer games (eg, Wii, Kinect) to high-end, immersive, and costly systems.2 The realism and ecological validity of a virtual environment could enhance training efficiency in virtual reality-based rehabilitation. A useful framework3 to guide clinical decision-making consists of three essential phases: (1) interaction between the user and the virtual environment, taking into account the personal and environmental characteristics; (2) transfer of skills learned from the virtual environment to the real world; and (3) participation in the real world and its affordances as a result of rehabilitation. The transfer of virtual reality-based gait and balance training to actual community ambulation should thus be considered. It should be assessed with mobility outcomes recorded in the community and during negotiation of actual environmental challenges, such as slopes and obstacles. Outcomes of participation, motivation and adherence to training should also be evaluated.
Provenance: Invited. Not peer-reviewed.


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    • Weiss PL, et al. In: Selzer ME, et al. (eds). Textbook of neural repair and neurorehabilitation. 2016;2:182–197.

Source: Gait and balance training using virtual reality is more effective for improving gait and balance ability after stroke than conventional training without virtual reality [commentary]

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