Medical College of Wisconsin
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Robotic resistance/assistance training improves locomotor function in individuals poststroke: a randomized controlled study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2014 May;95(5):799-806



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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether providing a controlled resistance versus assistance to the paretic leg at the ankle during treadmill training will improve walking function in individuals poststroke.

DESIGN: Repeated assessment of the same patients with parallel design and randomized controlled study between 2 groups.

SETTING: Research units of rehabilitation hospitals.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=30) with chronic stroke.

INTERVENTION: Subjects were stratified based on self-selected walking speed and were randomly assigned to the resistance or assistance training group. For the resistance group, a controlled resistance load was applied to the paretic leg at the ankle to resist leg swing during treadmill walking. For the assistance group, a load that assists swing was applied.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measures were walking speed and 6-minute walking distance. Secondary measures included clinical assessments of balance, muscle tone, and quality of life. Outcome measures were evaluated before and after 6 weeks of training and at 8 weeks' follow-up, and compared within group and between the 2 groups.

RESULTS: After 6 weeks of robotic training, walking speed significantly increased for both groups, with no significant differences in walking speed gains observed between the 2 groups. In addition, 6-minute walking distance and balance significantly improved for the assistance group but not for the resistance group.

CONCLUSIONS: Applying a controlled resistance or an assistance load to the paretic leg during treadmill training may induce improvements in walking speed in individuals poststroke. Resistance training was not superior to assistance training in improving locomotor function in individuals poststroke.

Author List

Wu M, Landry JM, Kim J, Schmit BD, Yen SC, Macdonald J


Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Equipment Design
Exercise Test
Follow-Up Studies
Gait Disorders, Neurologic
Middle Aged
Recovery of Function
Resistance Training
Stroke Rehabilitation
Treatment Outcome