The objective of this study was to evaluate possible mechanisms for functional improvement and compare ambulation training with surface peroneal nerve stimulation vs. usual care via quantitative gait analysis.
This study is a randomized controlled clinical trial.
The setting of this study is a teaching hospital of an academic medical center.
One hundred ten chronic stroke survivors (>12 wks poststroke) with unilateral hemiparesis participated in this study.
The subjects were randomized to a surface peroneal nerve stimulation device or usual care intervention. The subjects were treated for 12 wks and followed up for 6-mo posttreatment.
Main Outcome Measures
Spatiotemporal, kinematic, and kinetic parameters of gait were the main outcome measures.
Cadence (F3,153 = 5.81, P = 0.012), stride length (F3,179 = 20.01, P < 0.001), walking speed (F3,167 = 18.2, P < 0.001), anterior-posterior ground reaction force (F3,164 = 6.61, P = 0.004), peak hip power in preswing (F3,156 = 8.76, P < 0.001), and peak ankle power at push-off (F3,149 = 6.38, P = 0.005) all improved with respect to time. However, peak ankle ankle dorsiflexion in swing (F3,184 = 4.99, P = 0.031) worsened. In general, the greatest change for all parameters occurred during the treatment period. There were no significant treatment group × time interaction effects for any of the spatiotemporal, kinematic, or kinetic parameters.
Gait training with peroneal nerve stimulation and usual care was associated with improvements in peak hip power in preswing and peak ankle power at push-off, which may have resulted in improved cadence, stride length, and walking speed; however, there were no differences between treatment groups. Both treatment groups also experienced a decrease in peak ankle ankle dorsiflexion in swing, although the clinical implications of this finding are unclear.