University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Locomotor training on a treadmill compared with PNF training in adults with chronic stroke


Stephenson JB, Maitland ME, Beckstead JW, Anemaet WK



Publication Info:

Technology & Innovation, 15(4):325-332


Persons with stroke often have decreased gait velocity and gait deviations. Many interventions are employed to remediate these impairments; however, more evidence is needed to determine which interventions are superior. This randomized controlled trial looked at the effects of body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) compared with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Eighteen subjects with chronic (>6 months) stroke were randomized into one of three groups: BWSTT, PNF, or control. All subjects received pre- and posttesting on the 10-m walk test, cadence, and the Wisconsin Gait Scale (WGS). The control group received no interventions. The PNF group received mat activities and gait training for 30 min three times a week for 4 weeks. The BWSTT group received locomotor training on a treadmill with body weight support for 20 min three times a week for 4 weeks. A significant difference from pretest to posttest (p = 0.05) for both gait velocity and cadence was found for BWSTT and PNF groups using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) test and Tukey post hoc analysis with treatment groups showing greater improvement than the control group. Similarly, a Kruskal-Wallis test revealed significant between-group differences (p = 0.05) on WGS. Post hoc analysis with Mann-Whitney U test found a significantly better improvement (p = 0.05) in both treatment groups compared to control with the PNF group showing greatest improvement. These preliminary results support the efficacy of both BWSTT and PNF training (compared with no training) to improve gait in people with stroke.

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