Control of gait is usually altered following stroke, and it may be further compromised by overexertion and fatigue. This study aims to quantitatively assess patients' gait stability during six-minute walking, measuring upper body accelerations of twenty patients with stroke (64 ± 13 years old) and ten age-matched healthy subjects (63 ± 10 years old). Healthy subjects showed a steady gait in terms of speed and accelerations over the six minutes. Conversely, the patients unable to complete the test (n = 8) progressively reduced their walking speed (- 22 ± 11%, confidence interval CI95%: -13, -29%, P = 0.046). Patients able to complete the test (n = 12) did not vary their walking speed over time (P = 0.493). However, this ability was not supported by an adequate capacity to maintain their gait stability, as shown by a progressive increase of their upper body accelerations (+ 5 ± 11%, CI95%: -1; +12%, P = 0.010). Walking endurance and gait stability should be both quantitatively assessed and carefully improved during the rehabilitation of patients with stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology