The aim of the study was to assess the degree to which isometric strength of multiple lower limb muscle groups and balance is associated with gait velocity and joint power generation during gait after stroke.
Sixty-three participants in a multisite, multinational, cross-sectional, observational study underwent assessment of gait velocity (10-m walk test), standing balance (computerized posturography), and isometric strength (hand-held dynamometry). Twenty-seven participants had joint power generation assessed (three-dimensional gait analysis). Bivariate associations were examined using Spearman’s correlations. Regression models with partial F tests were used to compare the contribution to gait between measures.
Although all muscle groups demonstrated significant associations with gait velocity (ρ = 0.40–0.72), partial F tests identified that ankle plantar flexor and hip flexor strength made the largest contribution to gait velocity. Ankle plantar flexor strength also had strong associations with habitual and fast-paced ankle power generation (ρ = 0.65 and 0.75). Balance had significant associations with habitual and fast gait velocity (ρ = −0.57 and −0.53), with partial F tests showing that the contribution was independent of strength.
Ankle plantar flexor and hip flexor strength had the largest contribution to gait velocity. Future research may wish to refocus strength assessment and treatment to target the ankle plantar flexors and hip flexors.
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Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) Differentiate the contribution that lower limb strength of each muscle group has on gait velocity after stroke; (2) Appraise the relationship between isometric strength and joint power generation during gait; and (3) Interpret the contribution of both strength and balance to gait after stroke.
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From the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (BFM); Victorian Infant Brain Studies, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia (BFM); Physiotherapy Department, Epworth HealthCare, Melbourne, Australia (BFM, GW); Physiotherapy Department, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia (GW, KJB); Physiotherapy Department, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore (DT, Y-HP); Centre for Disability and Development Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia (BA); Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore (CWB, YSN); Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia (MHC); Movement Science Laboratory, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore (LSL); and Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Australia (RAC).
All correspondence should be addressed to: Benjamin F. Mentiplay, PhD, La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Bundoora VIC 3086, Australia.
BFM was funded by an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training; GW was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Translating Research into Practice Fellowship; and RAC was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship. The funding bodies had no involvement in the study.
Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.
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Online date: December 29, 2018