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Body Weight-Supported Treadmill Training Versus Conventional Gait Training for People With Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury

Brown, Tracy H. PT; Mount, Julie PhD, PT; Rouland, Bethany L. PT; Kautz, Katherine A. MS, PT; Barnes, Renee M. PTA; Kim, Jihye MPT

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: September-October 2005 - Volume 20 - Issue 5 - p 402–415

Objectives To compare body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) to conventional overground gait training (COGT).

Design Randomized controlled trial.

Setting Residential rehabilitation center.

Participants Twenty subjects with chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Intervention The BWSTT or COGT for 15 minutes plus 30 minutes of exercise 2 days per week, for 3 months.

Main Outcome Measures Functional Ambulation Category (FAC), Functional Reach (FR), Timed Up and Go; gait velocity, step width (BOS) and step length differential using instrumented gait mat.

Results Step width approached the norm without between-group differences. Step length differential improved significantly more for the COGT.

Conclusions Physical therapy can improve gait for patients more than 6 years post-TBI. The COGT is more effective than the BWSTT for improving gait symmetry during overground walking.

Department of Physical Therapy, Beechwood Rehabilitation Services, Langhorne, Pa (Mss Brown, Rouland, Kautz, Barnes, and Kim); and the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pa (Dr Mount).

Corresponding author: Tracy H. Brown, PT, Department of Physical Therapy, Beechwood Rehabilitation Services, Langhorne, PA 19047.

The authors thank Margie Milner, PT, Jocelyn Woods, SPT, Sharon Gordon, PT Aide, Dr Marc Besser, and student PTs from Thomas Jefferson University—Todd O'Neill, Cara Marzano, and Deepa Varindani—for their contributions to this study.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.