Monday, 14 January 2013 13:03

Correcting Post-Stroke Gait Problems with Ankle Weights and Underwater Treadmills

Written by PubMed


underwater treadmill

The influence of applying additional weight to the affected leg on gait patterns during aquatic treadmill walking in people poststroke

Jung T, Lee D, Charalambous C, Vrongistinos K., Center of Achievement, Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Jan 2010



To investigate how the application of additional weights to the affected leg influences gait patterns of people poststroke during aquatic treadmill walking.


Comparative gait analysis.


University-based aquatic therapy center.


Community-dwelling volunteers (n=22) with chronic hemiparesis caused by stroke.


Not applicable.


Spatiotemporal and kinematic gait parameters.


The use of an ankle weight showed an increase in the stance phase percentage of gait cycle (3%, P=.015) when compared with no weight. However, the difference was not significant after a Bonferroni adjustment was applied for a more stringent statistical analysis. No significant differences were found in cadence and stride length. The use of an ankle weight showed a significant decrease of the peak hip flexion (7.9%, P=.001) of the affected limb as compared with no weight condition. This decrease was marked as the reduction of unwanted limb flotation because people poststroke typically show excessive hip flexion of the paretic leg in the late swing phase followed by fluctuating hip movements during aquatic treadmill walking. The frontal and transverse plane hip motions did not show any significant differences but displayed a trend of a decrease in the peak hip abduction during the swing phase with additional weights. The use of additional weight did not alter sagittal plane kinematics of the knee and ankle joints.


The use of applied weight on the affected limb can reduce unwanted limb flotation on the paretic side during aquatic treadmill walking. It can also assist the stance stability by increasing the stance phase percentage closer to 60% of gait cycle. Both findings can contribute to the development of more efficient motor patterns in gait training for people poststroke. The use of a cuff weight does not seem to reduce the limb circumduction during aquatic treadmill walking.

Copyright (c) 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. PMID: 20103407 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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