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Locomotor Adaptability Task Promotes Intense and Task-Appropriate Output From the Paretic Leg During Walking

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

As published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Our objective was to test the hypothesis that participants with stroke will exhibit appropriate increase in muscle activation of the paretic leg when taking a long step with the nonparetic leg compared to during steady-state walking, with a consequent increase in biomechanical output and symmetry during the stance phase of the modified gait cycle.

We designed a single-session observational study. Set within a cinical research center in an outpatient hospital setting, working with Adults with chronic poststroke hemiparesis (NZ15). Participants walked on an instrumented treadmill while kinetic, kinematic, and electromyogram data were recorded. Participantsperformed steady-state walking and a separate trial of the long-step adaptability task in which they were instructed to intermittently take a longer step with the nonparetic leg. Main Outcome Measures: Forward progression, propulsive force, and neuromuscular activation during walking.

The results showed participants performed the adaptability task successfully and demonstrated greater neuromuscular activation in appropriate paretic leg muscles, particularly increased activity in paretic plantarflexor muscles. Propulsion and forward progression by the paretic leg were also increased.

These findings support the assertion that the nonparetic long-step task may be effective for use in poststroke locomotor rehabilitation to engage the paretic leg and promote recovery of walking.

This article was authored by:

  • David J. Clark, ScD
  • Richard R. Neptune, PhD
  • Andrea L. Behrman, PhD
  • Steven A. Kautz, PhD

Read the Complete Published Article in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Posted in Pediatric Publication, Publications