Gait outcome in ambulatory hemiparetic patients after a 4-week comprehensive rehabilitation program and prognostic factors.
Although gait training is prominent in the rehabilitation of hemiparetic stroke patients, little is known about its outcome and prognostic factors in mildly affected patients. We therefore intended to assess gait in ambulatory stroke patients before and after a 4-week inpatient rehabilitation program based on the neurodevelopmental technique.
We measured vertical ground reaction forces by force plates in 148 stroke patients. Variables were stance durations, peak vertical ground reaction forces at heel strike (Fz1) and toe-off (Fz2), loading and deloading rates, time to Fz1, and time to Fz2. The absolute changes for both legs and symmetry outcome were calculated. In addition, we assessed maximal walking speed, walking endurance, stair climbing ability, and the Motricity Index.
Stance duration, weight acceptance, push-off of both legs, and the stance duration symmetry improved independent of changes of gait velocity. The symmetry of the ground reaction forces did not improve. Results were even worse for Fz1 and the loading rate at the end of treatment. Sex, age, side of hemiparesis, motor strength, stroke interval, and sensory impairment had no influence on the outcome of symmetry. Functional performance did not improve considerably.
The absolute changes of the ground reaction forces indicated better weight acceptance and push-off of both legs and thus confirmed the efficacy of the neurodevelopmental technique. The symmetry outcome and the functional performance at the end of treatment, however, challenge the efficacy of intensive rehabilitation therapy for 4 weeks in its attempts to restore physiological gait in these mildly affected patients.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association