Stroke survivors without cerebellar involvement retain the ability to adapt to the split-belt treadmill; however it has been suggested that their rate of adaptation may be slowed compared to those who are neurologically intact. Depending on limb placement, the split-belt treadmill can be configured to either exaggerate baseline asymmetry, or reduce it, which may affect the behavior of adaptation or de-adaptation. The objectives of this study were to characterize the rate and magnitude of locomotor (de)adaptation in chronic stroke survivors compared to healthy matched subjects, and to evaluate whether exaggeration or reduction of baseline asymmetry impact the responses. Seventeen stroke survivors and healthy subjects completed 10min of split-belt treadmill walking, then 5min of tied-belt walking. Stroke survivors completed this once with each leg on the fast belt. Magnitude and rate of (de)adaptation were evaluated for step length and limb phase asymmetry. There were no differences between the groups with the exception of the reduced step length asymmetry configuration, in which case there was a significantly reduced magnitude (p≤0.000) and rate (p=0.011) of adaptation when compared to controls. There was a similar trend observed during post-adaptation for the exaggerated asymmetry group. The rate and magnitude of locomotor (de)adaptation is similar between chronic stroke survivors and neurologically intact controls, except when the adaptation or de-adaptation response would take the stroke survivors away from a symmetric step length pattern. This suggests that there may be some benefit to symmetry that is recognized by the system.
Recommended CitationTyrell, Christine M.; Helm, Erin; and Reisman, Darcy S., "Locomotor adaptation is influenced by the interaction between perturbation and baseline asymmetry after stroke." (2015). Department of Physical Therapy Faculty Papers. Paper 18.
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