Efficacy of a Hip Flexion Assist Orthosis in Adults With Hemiparesis After Stroke

Carda, Stefano; Invernizzi, Marco; Cognolato, Gianluca; Piccoli, Eugenio; Baricich, Alessio; Cisari, Carlo
May 2012
Physical Therapy;May2012, Vol. 92 Issue 5, p734
Academic Journal
Background. During gait, the hip flexors generate 40% of the total power.Nevertheless, no device has been tested extensively for clinical purposes to cope with weakness in the hip flexors in patients with stroke. Objective. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of a newly developed hip flexion assist orthosis in adult patients with hemiparesis afterstroke. Design. The study used a prospective, randomized, before-after trial design. The inclusion criteria were hemiparesis resulting from stroke (onset ≥8 weeks); ability to walk, even if with assistance; and hip flexion weakness (Medical Research Council Scale score <4). Methods. The main outcome measures were the 10-Meter Walk Test and the Six-Minute Walk Test. Patients also were evaluated with the Trunk Control Test, the Functional Ambulation Categories, the Motricity Index, and hip flexor strength on the Medical Research Council Scale. Sixty-two survivors of stroke were tested in random order with and without the orthosis. Any adverse event associated with its use was recorded. Results. Both the Six-Minute Walk Test and the 10-Meter Walk Test scores improved with the use of the orthosis. A significant negative correlation was found for improvement between scores on the 2 main outcome measures with the orthosis and the Functional Ambulation Categories scores. The improvement in Six-Minute Walk Test scores with the orthosis was related inversely to hip flexor strength. Conclusions. The data showed that the use of a hip flexion assist orthosis can improve gait in patients with poststroke hemiparesis, particularly those with more severe walking impairment.


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