3 years ago

Control of lateral weight transfer is associated with walking speed in individuals post-stroke

Restoring functional gait speed is an important goal for rehabilitation post-stroke. During walking, transferring of one’s body weight between the limbs and maintaining balance stability are necessary for independent functional gait. Although it is documented that individuals post-stroke commonly have difficulties with performing weight transfer onto their paretic limbs, it remains to be determined if these deficits contributed to slower walking speeds. The primary purpose of this study was to compare the weight transfer characteristics between slow and fast post-stroke ambulators. Participants (N=36) with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis walked at their comfortable and maximal walking speeds on a treadmill. Participants were stratified into 2 groups based on their comfortable walking speeds (≥0.8m/s or <0.8m/s). Minimum body center of mass (COM) to center of pressure (COP) distance, weight transfer timing, step width, lateral foot placement relative to the COM, hip moment, peak vertical and anterior ground reaction forces, and changes in walking speed were analyzed. Results showed that slow walkers walked with a delayed and deficient weight transfer to the paretic limb, lower hip abductor moment, and more lateral paretic limb foot placement relative to the COM compared to fast walkers. In addition, propulsive force and walking speed capacity was related to lateral weight transfer ability. These findings demonstrated that deficits in lateral weight transfer and stability could potentially be one of the limiting factors underlying comfortable walking speeds and a determinant of chronic stroke survivors’ ability to increase walking speed.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0021929017303184

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