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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Changes in Gait Symmetry After Training on a Treadmill with Biofeedback in Chronic Stroke Patients: A 6-Month Follow-Up from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Mariusz Drużbicki, Agnieszka Guzik, Grzegorz Przysada, Andrzej Kwolek, Agnieszka Brzozowska-Magoń, Marek Sobolewski

Institute of Physiotherapy, University of Rzeszów, Rzeszów, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:4859-4868

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.898420

Available online:

Published: 2016-12-11


BACKGROUND: One of the most significant challenges for patients who survive a stroke is relearning basic motor tasks such as walking. The goal of this study was to evaluate whether training on a treadmill with visual biofeedback improves gait symmetry, as well as spatiotemporal and kinematic gait parameters, in stroke patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty patients in the chronic phase after a stroke were randomly allocated into groups with a rehabilitation program of treadmill training with or without visual biofeedback. The training program lasted 10 days. Spatiotemporal and kinematic gait parameters were evaluated. For all parameters analyzed, a symmetrical index was calculated. Follow-up studies were performed 6 months after completion of the program.
RESULTS: The symmetrical index had significantly normalized in terms of the step length (p=0.006), stance phase time, and inter-limb ratio in the intervention group. After 6 months, the improvement in the symmetry of the step length had been maintained. In the control group, no statistically significant change was observed in any of the parameters tested. There was no significant difference between the intervention group and the control group on completion of the program or at 6 months following the completion of the program.
CONCLUSIONS: Training on a treadmill has a significant effect on the improvement of spatiotemporal parameters and symmetry of gait in patients with chronic stroke. In the group with the treadmill training using visual biofeedback, no significantly greater improvement was observed.

Keywords: Biofeedback, Psychology - methods, Exercise Test - methods, Exercise Therapy - methods, Follow-Up Studies, Gait - physiology, Recovery of Function - physiology, Stroke - therapy, Stroke Rehabilitation - methods, Walking