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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012 Jan;16(1):14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.12.005. Epub 2010 Dec 30.

Understanding gait control in post-stroke: implications for management.

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Department of Neurology, CSM Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow 226003, UP, India.


The role of the brain in post-stroke gait is not understood properly, although the ability to walk becomes impaired in more than 80% of post-stroke patients. Most, however, regain some ability to walk with either limited mobility or inefficient, asymmetrical or unsafe gait. Conventional intervention focuses on support of weak muscles or body part by use of foot orthosis and walking aids. This review provides an overview of available evidence of neuro-kinesiology & neurophysiology of normal and post-stroke gait. The role of the spinal cord has been explored, more in animals than humans. Mammalian locomotion is based on a rhythmic, "pacemaker" activity of the spinal stepping generators. Bipedal human locomotion is different from quadripedal animal locomotion. However, knowledge derived from the spinal cord investigation of animals, is being applied for management of human gait dysfunction. The potential role of the brain is now recognized in the independent activation of muscles during walking. The brain modifies the gait pattern during the complex demands of daily activities. Though the exact role of the motor cortex in control of gait is unclear, available evidence may be applied to gait rehabilitation of post-stroke patients.

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