Posts Tagged treadmill training

[Abstract] Mirror therapy for improving lower limb motor function and mobility after stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis.



Mirror therapy has been proposed as an effective intervention for lower limb rehabilitation post stroke.


This systematic review with meta-analysis examined if lower limb mirror therapy improved the primary outcome measures of muscle tone and motor function and the secondary outcome measures balance characteristics, functional ambulation, walking velocity, passive range of motion (PROM) for ankle dorsiflexion and gait characteristics in patients with stroke compared to other interventions.


Standardised mean differences (SMD) and mean differences (MD) were used to assess the effect of mirror therapy on lower limb functioning.


Nine studies were included in the review. Among the primary outcome measures there was evidence of a significant effect of mirror therapy on motor function compared with sham and non-sham interventions (SMD 0.54; 95% CI 0.24-0.93). Furthermore, among the secondary outcome measures there was evidence of a significant effect of mirror therapy for balance capacity (SMD -0.55; 95% CI -1.01 to -0.10), walking velocity (SMD 0.71; 95% CI 0.35-1.07), PROM for ankle dorsiflexion (SMD 1.20; 95% CI 0.71-1.69) and step length (SMD 0.56; 95% CI -0.00 to 1.12).


The results indicate that using mirror therapy for the treatment of certain lower limb deficits in patients with stroke may have a positive effect. Although results are somewhat positive, overly favourable interpretation is cautioned due to methodological issues concerning included studies.

via Mirror therapy for improving lower limb motor function and mobility after stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis. – PubMed – NCBI

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[ARTICLE] The Use of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation to Optimize Treadmill Training for Stroke Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Full Text


The use of functional music in gait training termed rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) and treadmill training (TT) have both been shown to be effective in stroke patients (SP). The combination of RAS and treadmill training (RAS-TT) has not been clinically evaluated to date. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of RAS-TT on functional gait in SP. The protocol followed the design of an explorative study with a rater-blinded three arm prospective randomized controlled parallel group design. Forty-five independently walking SP with a hemiparesis of the lower limb or an unsafe and asymmetrical walking pattern were recruited. RAS-TT was carried out over 4 weeks with TT and neurodevelopmental treatment based on Bobath approach (NDT) serving as control interventions. For RAS-TT functional music was adjusted individually while walking on the treadmill. Pre and post-assessments consisted of the fast gait speed test (FGS), a gait analysis with the locometre (LOC), 3 min walking time test (3MWT), and an instrumental evaluation of balance (IEB). Raters were blinded to group assignments. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed with affiliated measures from pre-assessment and time between stroke and start of study as covariates. Thirty-five participants (mean age 63.6 ± 8.6 years, mean time between stroke and start of study 42.1 ± 23.7 days) completed the study (11 RAS-TT, 13 TT, 11 NDT). Significant group differences occurred in the FGS for adjusted post-measures in gait velocity [F(2, 34) = 3.864, p = 0.032; partial η2 = 0.205] and cadence [F(2, 34)= 7.656, p = 0.002; partial η2 = 0.338]. Group contrasts showed significantly higher values for RAS-TT. Stride length results did not vary between the groups. LOC, 3MWT, and IEB did not indicate group differences. One patient was withdrawn from TT because of pain in one arm. The study provides first evidence for a higher efficacy of RAS-TT in comparison to the standard approaches TT and NDT in restoring functional gait in SP. The results support the implementation of functional music in neurological gait rehabilitation and its use in combination with treadmill training.


About 60% of all stroke patients (SP) have difficulties with walking (). These are often caused by hemiparesis and/or sensory deficits of the lower extremity and/or trunk and are also due to uncoordinated movements. In addition to motor and sensory dysfunctions, symptoms such as spasticity, somato-sensory neglect, and cognitive malfunctioning may further impede walking. Thus, the restoration of gait is often a key focus of rehabilitation efforts, enhancing not only physical activity but also autonomy and participation in everyday life ().

Treadmill training (TT) with and without body weight support has been shown to improve functional gait in stroke patients effectively. A meta-analysis comparing 44 trials (n = 2,658 patients) revealed clear therapeutic effects on gait velocity and walking endurance, the latter only for TT with body weight support (). However, the improvements were identified only for independent walkers while patients who walked with assistance did not show an additional benefit from TT (). Lee’s work () provided evidence that TT with a high walking velocity at the beginning of training is more effective when compared to a stepwise increase in velocity.

Rhythmic-auditory stimulation (RAS) is defined as a therapeutic application of pulsed rhythmic or musical stimulation in order to improve gait or gait related aspects of movement (). It has been demonstrated that SP are able to synchronize their gait pattern to auditory stimulation using music with an embedded metronome (). This led to immediate improvements in stride time and stride length symmetry as well as weight bearing time on the paretic side, while EMG showed a more balanced muscular activation pattern between the paretic and non-paretic sides (). Training effects of RAS for SP were confirmed in a meta-analysis comparing 7 randomized controlled studies (n = 197) that showed improvements in functional gait performance (velocity, cadence, and stride length) (). This work also gave evidence, that a musical stimulation is more effective in improving gait velocity and cadence then the metronome (). Hayden et al. found that RAS became more effective when it is implemented earlier in the rehabilitation program. This provides evidence that the variation in time of the RAS-training during the rehabilitation process may affect the success of the treatment (). The application of RAS on the treadmill (RAS-TT) was evaluated over a 3-week training period by Park et al. In that study metronome stimulation was used for 9 patients with chronic stroke. The results were compared with a group of 10 patients performing over ground RAS walking training (). The RAS-TT group experienced greater improvements in gait velocity ().

While RAS and TT have proven to be effective for gait training in SP, the efficacy of its combination (RAS-TT) in the early course of rehabilitation in SP has not been investigated to date. Therefore, we hypothesized that RAS-TT in the early course of rehabilitation would improve the clinical efficacy of TT for SP. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the functional improvements of gait using a rehabilitation therapy combining RAS and TT in order to assess its clinical efficacy for patients suffering the aftermaths of a stroke.

Materials and methods


The study protocol was approved by the state authorization association for medical issues in Brandenburg, that determined on the 21st of January 2010 that no formal ethics approval was required. Patients gave their informed consent according to the Helsinki declaration.

The study was designed as a prospective, single center three arm clinical study with parallel groups. We enrolled patients who performed either RAS on the treadmill (RAS-TT) or treadmill training alone (TT). A third group that received neurodevelopmental treatment following the Bobath approach (NDT) served as a control group. The patients were randomly assigned to the three training interventions by a person not involved in the study using a block randomization (software randlist). Allocations were placed in sealed sequentially numbered envelopes and were not opened until the actual study inclusion. Thus, the patients, the responsible doctor, the assessing physiotherapist, and study manager were not informed beforehand regarding the group assignment.

We included stroke patients with a hemiparesis of the lower limb (at least 1 muscle group with muscle strength grade <5 as defined by the British Medical Research Council) or with an unsafe and asymmetrical walking pattern (by assessment of a physiotherapist). The patients had to be able to walk independently with assistive devices if necessary for at least 3 min.

Criteria for exclusion were the following: significantly disturbed language perception (marked by either the Aachener Aphasietest or Token Test), cognitive impairment (Mini Mental Status Test <26), major depression or productive psychosis, adjustment disorder with a need for medical treatment, peripheral arterial occlusive disease with walking distance <100 m, and coronary heart disease (instable angina pectoris).

After having passed the diagnostics patients underwent a screening session on the treadmill. There they had to demonstrate a stable and sufficiently ergonomic gait. Candidates with insufficient quality of gait on the treadmill (multimodal neglect or spasticity as assessed by a physiotherapist) were postponed and re-screened every week (Figure (Figure11).

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Figure 1
Patient flow chart of study design. RAS-TT, rhythmic auditory stimulation on treadmill; TT, treadmill training; NDT, neurodevelopmental treatment.


Continue —>  The Use of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation to Optimize Treadmill Training for Stroke Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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[Abstract] Effects of treadmill training with load addition on non-paretic lower limb on gait parameters after stroke: a randomized controlled clinical trial


  • Load use as a restraint for the movement of non-paretic lower limb is proposed.
  • Currently, only immediate effects of this practice are available.
  • Stroke patients performed gait training with and without load addition, for two weeks.
  • Kinematic gait parameters were improved after training and maintained at follow-up.
  • Load addition did not provide additional benefits to gait training.


The addition of load on the non-paretic lower limb for the purpose of restraining this limb and stimulating the use of the paretic limb has been suggested to improve hemiparetic gait. However, the results are conflicting and only short-term effects have been observed.

This study aims to investigate the effects of adding load on non-paretic lower limb during treadmill gait training as a multisession intervention on kinematic gait parameters after stroke.

With this aim, 38 subacute stroke patients (mean time since stroke: 4.5 months) were randomly divided into two groups: treadmill training with load (equivalent to 5% of body weight) on the non-paretic ankle (experimental group) and treadmill training without load (control group). Both groups performed treadmill training during 30 minutes per day, for two consecutive weeks (nine sessions). Spatiotemporal and angular gait parameters were assessed by a motion system analysis at baseline, post-training (at the end of 9 days of interventions) and follow-up (40 days after the end of interventions).

Several post-training effects were demonstrated: patients walked faster and with longer paretic and non-paretic steps compared to baseline, and maintained these gains at follow-up. In addition, patients exhibited greater hip and knee joint excursion in both limbs at post-training, while maintaining most of these benefits at follow-up. All these improvements were observed in both groups.

Although the proposal gait training program has provided better gait parameters for these subacute stroke patients, our data indicate that load addition used as a restraint may not provide additional benefits to gait training.

Source: Effects of treadmill training with load addition on non-paretic lower limb on gait parameters after stroke: a randomized controlled clinical trial – Gait & Posture

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[WEB SITE] Getting Neuro Patients Back On Their Feet

Published on January 17, 2017

Body weight support devices are available for use over a treadmill or overground. Patients who use these devices are often less fearful and more motivated knowing they are safely supported and not at risk of falling.

By Jessica Finnegan, PT, MPT, NCS

This is an exciting time in the world of neurologic physical therapy. Rehabilitation technologies are emerging and research is ongoing to determine the efficacy of these products. In the current healthcare environment, rehabilitation stays are becoming shorter and physical therapists (PTs) must find a way to prioritize which interventions will be most beneficial to their patients. This article discusses several rehabilitation technologies with the hope of helping PTs integrate them into their plans of care to improve mobility in patients recovering from stroke and other neurological disorders.

Convenience, Safety, and Early Mobility

Intensive, repetitive mobility-task training is recommended for all patients with impaired gait after stroke.1 In the past, mobilizing a patient with dense hemiparesis may have required two to three skilled therapists. This has obvious implications for staff efficiency and productivity. In addition, musculoskeletal injuries are commonly reported by healthcare providers and are often associated with manual patient handling.2 Workplace injuries can be a threat to the health and careers of PTs and should be avoided. Darragh and colleagues explored physical and occupational therapists’ experience with safe-patient-handling (SPH) equipment, such as ceiling lifts, floor lifts, and more. This equipment is becoming more widely available, allowing early mobilization of patients with fewer skilled staff members present and reduced risk of injury to the therapist. In this study, therapeutic uses of SPH equipment included transfer training, functional ambulation, and bed mobility.

Therapists also reported using SPH devices to address impaired attention, visual perception, and neglect. Overall, therapists who used SPH equipment “experienced increased options in therapy, accomplished more, and mobilized patients earlier in their recovery.” They also remarked that they needed to co-treat or solicit help from other professionals less frequently, which should improve productivity overall.3…

Recent technologies have entered the market that enable therapists to evaluate and train visual acuity and cognitive processing as part of rehab programs. These devices can target stroke, TBI, and neurocognitive conditions.

more —> Getting Neuro Patients Back On Their Feet – Physical Therapy Products

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[ARTICLE] Treadmill training with tilt sensor functional electrical stimulation for improving balance, gait, and muscle architecture of tibialis anterior of survivors with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial

BACKGROUND: Gait training is important for stroke rehabilitation, such as using the treadmill training with functional electrical stimulation (FES).

OBJECTIVE: This study was to investigate the effects of the treadmill training with tilt sensor FES on the balance, gait, and muscle architecture of the tibialis anterior in stroke survivors.

METHODS: The study was a randomized controlled trial. Thirty-four stroke survivors were recruited and screened eligibility criteria. Thirty-two participants were randomly allocated to two groups using random allocation software: Treadmill training with Tilt Sensor FES (TTSF) group (n=16) and Treadmill training with Placebo Tilt Sensor FES (TPTSF) group (n=16). TTSF group performed gait training on treadmill with tilt sensor FES, and TPTSF group performed gait training on treadmill with placebo tilt sensor FES. Two participants were dropped during this study, and 30 participants were included at post-test. Balance and gait were measured using the timed up and go (TUG) test, berg balance scale (BBS), and 10 m walk test (10 mWT). Ultrasound imaging was used to measure the muscle architecture of the tibialis anterior.

RESULTS: After intervention, there were significant improvements in the TUG, BBS, and 10 mWT compared to baseline in both groups (p< 0.05). At follow-up, the TUG, BBS, 10 mWT, and muscle architecture of tibialis anterior on the paretic side showed significant improvements in the TTSF group compared to TPTSF group (p< 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study suggest that TTSF can be an effective intervention for improving balance, gait ability, and muscle architecture of tibialis anterior of stroke survivors.

via Treadmill training with tilt sensor functional electrical stimulation for improving balance, gait, and muscle architecture of tibialis anterior of survivors with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial – Technology and Health Care – IOS Press.

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