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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Apr;80(4):421-7.

Treadmill walking with partial body weight support versus floor walking in hemiparetic subjects.

Author information

1
Klinik Berlin, Department of Neurological Rehabilitation, Free University, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare the gait of hemiparetic subjects walking on a treadmill with various body weight supports and walking on the floor.

DESIGN:

Hemiparetic subjects walked on a treadmill, secured in a harness, with no body weight support and with 15% and 30% body weight relief, and walked on a floor.

SETTING:

Kinematic laboratory of a department of rehabilitation.

SUBJECTS:

Eighteen hemiparetic stroke patients.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Gait cycle parameters and kinesiologic electromyogram of six muscles of the affected side and of two muscles of the nonaffected side.

RESULTS:

On the treadmill, patients walked more slowly because of a reduced cadence, with a longer single stance period of the paretic limb, more symmetrically, and with a larger hip extension (multivariate profile analysis, p<.05). The mean functional activities of the gastrocnemius muscle and of the first crest of the erector spinae of the paretic side were smaller on the treadmill (univariate test, p<.05). Further, the premature activity of the gastrocnemius muscle, indicating spasticity, was less on the treadmill (univariate test, p<.05); correspondingly the qualitative muscle pattern analysis revealed less co-contraction between the gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior muscles in 11 of the 18 subjects.

CONCLUSIONS:

Treadmill training with partial body weight support in hemiparetic subjects allows them to practice a favorable gait characterized by a greater stimulus for balance training because of the prolonged single stance period of the affected limb, a higher symmetry, less plantar flexor spasticity, and a more regular activation pattern of the shank muscles as compared with floor walking.

PMID:
10206604
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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