Slow and faster post-stroke walkers have a different trunk progression and braking impulse during gait
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofGait and posture ; vol. 68, pp. 483-487.
Background Braking forces absorbed by the leading paretic limb are greater than expected with regard to gait speed and not correlated with propulsive forces generated by the non-paretic limb in individuals with severe hemiparesis. Altered foot placement due to poor sensorimotor capacities may explain excessive braking forces. Research question The main objective of this study was to determine whether paretic foot placement was related to paretic braking forces in post-stroke individuals with various self-selected walking speeds and motor deficits. Methods In this cross-sectional study, 34 chronic hemiparetic post-stroke individuals, divided into slow (< 0.7 m/s, n = 17) and faster (n = 17) subgroups, walked at their self-selected speed. Kinematic and kinetic parameters were measured. Braking impulses, peak braking forces, step characteristics and clinical status were compared between groups and limbs, and their correlations were tested using Pearson (or Spearman) correlation tests. Results On the paretic side, braking impulses and step length were similar between groups despite the slower walking speed in the slow group. Paretic peak braking forces and step length were correlated in both groups (r = 0.5). Paretic braking forces were correlated with walking speed, foot placement ahead of the pelvis, trunk progression (TP) from non-paretic initial contact to paretic initial contact, and better motor function of the paretic limb for the faster walkers (0.6 < r < 0.7), but not for the slow walkers. Among the slow walkers, reduced TP ahead of the paretic foot was correlated with a higher paretic impulse (r = -0.6). Significance Better motor function likely helped the faster walkers to decelerate their center of mass appropriately relative to their walking speed. In the slow hemiparetic walkers, TP ahead of the paretic foot was perturbed. Clinicians should therefore consider vasti and plantar flexor muscle tone and activity that likely restrict TP ahead of the paretic foot and increase braking forces.