Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Number of Pages
Background and Purpose: Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults worldwide. The ability to return to walking is often a main goal of rehabilitation in individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis. To increase walking speed, non-neurologically impaired individuals produce greater ankle propulsion force at push-off with greater ankle dorsiflexion angles in swing phase with no change in ankle muscle co-contraction index in the swing phase. It remains unclear if individuals post-stroke would adopt similar neuromuscular strategies. Therefore, our aim was to examine the effect of altered walking speeds on propulsion force at push-off, ankle dorsiflexion angle during swing, and co-contraction of the lower leg musculature in individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis. Subjects: We recruited 7 participants with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis and 7 age-similar, non-neurologically impaired controls. Inclusion criteria were 1) > 6 months post stroke with hemiparesis, 2) able to walk without an assistive device for 2 minutes, and 3) able to follow cues and adhere to instructions. Exclusion criteria were 1) had a history of cerebellar stroke(s) and/or 2) unable to walk without an assistive device for more than 2 minutes. Methods: All subjects were tested under three different walking speed conditions: self-selected walking speed (SSWS), fast walking speed (FWS), and slow walking speed (SWS). We examined the propulsion force at push-off, ankle dorsiflexion angle during swing phase, and co-contraction index of the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles during stance and swing phases. A 2-factor mixed factorial ANOVA was used to assess each variable between leg and the speed condition (FWS, SSWS, SWS). The legs examined were the paretic limb of participants post-stroke, the non-paretic limb of participants post-stroke, and the non-impaired limb of non-neurologically impaired controls. Results: The ANOVA and post-hoc analyses revealed that there were significant increases in ankle dorsiflexion angle during swing phase and propulsion force at push-off in the FWS (4.6±4.3° and -1.1±0.6 N/kg respectively) condition when compared to the SSWS (5.6±4.8° and -0.9±0.5 N/kg respectively) and SWS (5.3±4.6° and -0.7±0.4 N/kg respectively) conditions across the 3 limbs examined. Additionally, the speed and limb had no main effect (p=0.233 and p=0.554 respectively) on co-contraction index between the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius at peak dorsiflexion during swing and had a trending main effect (p=0.082) on co-contraction index between the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius at push off. Discussion: Faster walking speeds may help people post-stroke to improve their propulsion force and ankle kinematics during gait. Future studies should investigate individuals with different types of strokes as well as the percentage of speed increase that evokes consistent improvements in gait mechanics in people post-stroke for physical therapy interventions.
Stroke; Post-Stroke Hemiparesis; Walking Speed; Neurodynamics
Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Ackley, Corey; Aki, Kiley; Arias, Joshua; and Trinh, Jassie, "Neurodynamics under Different Walking Speeds in Individuals with Chronic Post-Stroke Hemiparesis" (2019). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3756.
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