Action observation training of community ambulation for improving walking ability of patients with post-stroke hemiparesis: a randomized controlled pilot trial

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Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of action observation training involving community-based ambulation for improving walking ability after stroke.

Design:

Randomized, controlled pilot study.

Setting:

Inpatient rehabilitation hospital.

Subjects:

A total of 25 inpatients with post-stroke hemiparesis were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 12) or control group (n = 13).

Intervention:

Subjects of the experimental group watched video clips demonstrating four-staged ambulation training with a more complex environment factor for 30 minutes, three times a week for four weeks. Meanwhile, subjects of the control group watched video clips, which showed different landscape pictures.

Main measures:

Walking function was evaluated before and after the four-week intervention using a 10-m walk test, community walk test, activities-specific balance confidence scale, and spatiotemporal gait measures.

Results:

Changes in the values for the 10-m walk test (0.17 ±0.19 m/s vs. 0.05 ±0.08 m/s), community walk test (–151.42 ±123.82 seconds vs. 67.08 ±176.77 seconds), and activities-specific balance confidence (6.25 ±5.61 scores vs. 0.72 ±2.24 scores) and the spatiotemporal parameters (i.e. stride length (19.00 ±11.34 cm vs. 3.16 ±11.20 cm), single support (5.87 ±5.13% vs. 0.25 ±5.95%), and velocity (15.66 ±12.34 cm/s vs. 2.96 ±10.54 cm/s)) indicated a significant improvement in the experimental group compared with the control group. In the experimental group, walking function and ambulation confidence was significantly different between the pre- and post-intervention, whereas the control group showed a significant difference only in the 10-m walk test.

Conclusions:

Action observation training of community ambulation may be favorably used for improving walking function of patients with post-stroke hemiparesis.

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