BACKGROUND: Gait recovery is very important to stroke survivors to regain their independence in activity of daily life.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the effects of virtual reality (VR) coupled body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) on pelvic control at the early stage of stroke.
METHODS: Kinematic and kinetic changes of pelvic motion were evaluated by a 3D gait analysis system and were compared to the results from over-ground walking training. Twenty-four patients having unilateral hemiplegia with subacute stroke were recruited to a VR coupled BWSTT group (n= 12) and a conventional therapy (CT) group (n= 12). Both of the groups received training of 20-40 min/day, 5 days/week, for 3 weeks.
RESULTS: The results showed the tilt of pelvis in sagittal plane improved significantly (P= 0.038) after treatment in the BWSTT+VR group, in terms of decreased amplitude of anterior peak (mean, from 10.99° to 6.25°), while there were no significant differences in the control group.
CONCLUSION: The findings suggested that VR coupled BWSTT gait training could decrease anterior tilt of pelvis in early hemiparetic persons following a modest intervention dose, and the training may have advantages over conventional over-ground gait training and can assist the therapists in correcting abnormal gait pattern of stroke survivors.