Treadmill gait training combined with functional electrical stimulation on hip abductor and ankle dorsiflexor muscles for chronic hemiparesis

Min-Kwon Cho, Jung-Hyun Kim, Yijung Chung, Sujin Hwang
Gait & Posture 2015, 42 (1): 73-8
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of treadmill training (TT) with functional electrical stimulation (FES) applied to the gluteus medius (GM) and tibialis anterior (TA) muscles on gait and balance performance in individuals with chronic hemiparetic stroke. Thirty-six participants with chronic hemiparesis were recruited to this study and randomly distributed into three groups: TT with FES applied to the GM and TA muscles (TTFES-GM+TA group, 12 patients); TT with FES applied to the TA muscle (TTFES-TA group, 12 patients); and TT only (control group, 12 patients). All participants underwent 20 sessions of TT with a harness (30min five times per week for 4 weeks). They also received regular physical therapy for 1h five times per week for 4 weeks. All participants were assessed before and after training using digital muscle testing, the Medical Research Council (MRC) scale, the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and spatiotemporal parameters. After training, the TTFES-GM+TA group showed significant improvement in hip abductor strength, Berg Balance Scale score, 6MWT result, MRC scale score grade, gait velocity, and cadence compared to the TTFES-TA group and control group. These findings show that TT with FES applied to the GM and TA muscles increased lower limb muscle strength and improved balance and gait capacities. Therefore, TT with FES applied to the GM and TA could be a beneficial intervention in clinical settings for individuals with chronic hemiparetic stroke.

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