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Influence of visual feedback on dynamic balance control in chronic stroke survivors. J Biomech 2016 Mar 21;49(5):698-703



Pubmed ID





Chronic stroke survivors have an increased incidence of falls during walking, suggesting changes in dynamic balance control post-stroke. Despite this increased incidence of falls during walking, balance control is often studied only in standing. The purpose of this study was to quantify deficits in dynamic balance control during walking, and to evaluate the influence of visual feedback on this control in stroke survivors. Ten individuals with chronic stroke, and ten neurologically intact individuals participated in this study. Walking performance was assessed while participants walked on an instrumented split-belt treadmill with different types of visual feedback. Dynamic balance control was quantified using both the extent of center of mass (COM) movement in the frontal plane over a gait cycle (COM sway), and base of support (step width). Stroke survivors walked with larger COM sway and wider step widths compared to controls. Despite these baseline differences, both groups walked with a similar ratio of step width to COM sway (SW/COM). Providing a stationary target with a laser reference of body movement reduced COM sway only in the stroke group, indicating that visual feedback of sway alters dynamic balance control post-stroke. These results demonstrate that stroke survivors attempt to maintain a similar ratio of step width to COM movement, and visual cues can be used to help control COM movement during walking post-stroke.

Author List

Walker ER, Hyngstrom AS, Schmit BD


Allison Hyngstrom PhD Associate Professor in the Physical Therapy department at Marquette University
Brian Schmit PhD Professor in the Biomedical Engineering department at Marquette University

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

Chronic Disease
Feedback, Sensory
Middle Aged
Postural Balance