A small repeated measures study of haptic cueing upon gait symmetry in people after stroke

Stockley, RC; Donaldson, G; Georgiou, Theodoros; Caton, S; Pinzone, O; Visi, F; Holland, Simon; Sullivan, M and Tetley, Josie (2017). A small repeated measures study of haptic cueing upon gait symmetry in people after stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 12 (5S) pp. 44–45.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1747493017732216

Abstract

Introduction
Rehabilitation of gait after stroke often includes forms of rhythmic cueing. Haptic cueing, in which a rhythmic cue is provided by touch could be a discreet cueing method for ambulation. This small prospective lab based study aimed to investigate the effect of prototype haptic devices (HDs) in stroke survivors.

Methods
Participants were recruited if they could walk 20 metres without an aid but reported persistent problems with walking. The HDs were fitted to both legs. After familiarisation, participants walked in the lab: 1) with the HDs switched off; 2) with the HDs switched on; 3) with the HDs switched off. Temporal symmetry and gait speed was evaluated using the Qualisys Motion Capture system.

Results
6 participants a median average of 59.5 years old (range: 53–74) and 5 years (range: 3–10) after stroke were recruited. 3 demonstrated mild temporal asymmetry, 1 demonstrated severe asymmetry and 2 had no/minimal asymmetry. When the HDs were switched on, temporal symmetry improved in 4 (from 6) with moderate or severe asymmetry. When the HDs were switched off, temporal symmetry remained improved in 3 and walking speed improved in 5 (overall mean change: 0.05; SD = 0.14 ms−1 ).

Conclusion
The findings of this small study suggest that the HDs could provide an effective cueing device for people with moderate or severe gait asymmetry after stroke. Further work is now needed to investigate the HDs in a larger and more varied sample of stroke survivors and in community settings.

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