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Vol. 37 No. 1, January/February 2000

Abstract - Compelled weightbearing in persons with hemiparesis following stroke: The effect of a lift insert and goal-directed balance exercise

Alexander S. Aruin, PhD; Tim Hanke, PT; Gouri Chaudhuri, MD; Richard Harvey, MD; Noel Rao, MD

Rehabilitation Foundation Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189; Marianjoy RehabLink, Wheaton, IL 60189

Abstract--The hypotheses have been tested that 1) symmetry of weightbearing in persons who have sustained a stroke could be improved by the addition of a lift to the shoe on the non-paretic lower limb and 2) compelled weightbearing resulting from the addition of a lift in conjunction with targeted exercise helps to overcome the learned disuse of the paretic limb. Weightbearing on the paretic side was measured in eight persons with hemiparesis during quiet standing and in conditions of compelled weight shift. Compelled weight shifts were applied with special lifts to the shoe on the non-paretic limb of the subjects. An increase in symmetrical weightbearing was recorded in conditions of compelled weight shifts: 10-mm lift provided the best symmetry of bipedal standing. We suggest that improved symmetry of bipedal standing obtained with the lift of the non-paretic limb would help in overcoming the learned disuse of the affected limb. Pre- and post-test results of a person with hemiparesis who was wearing a shoe lift on the non-paretic limb during a 6-week physical therapy program showed statistically significant improvement of walking speed, stride length, and weightbearing. Such findings support the idea of using compelled weightbearing via lifting and targeted exercise during treatment.

Key words: gait, hemiparesis, posture, weightbearing.

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