Karniel N1,2, Schwartz I3, Raveh E4, Rotem Lehrer N5, Portnoy S3,6
1Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Physical Therapy, Jerusalem, Israel, 2Tel Aviv University, Physical Therapy, Tel Aviv, Israel, 3Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Rehabilitation, Jerusalem, Israel, 4Tel Aviv University, Occupational Therapy, Jerusalem, Israel, 5Hadassah Medical Center, Physical Therapy, Jerusalem, Israel, 6Tel Aviv University, Occupational Therapy, Tel Aviv, Israel

Background: Foot drop occurs in approximately fifth of individuals with hemispheric stroke. The conventional treatment includes an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO). Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) was found to be an effective alternative in individuals with chronic stroke.

Purpose: To compare gait parameters in patients following a sub-acute post stroke with foot drop treated with AFO or FES

Methods: Twenty one sub-acute patients with stroke with foot drop were fitted with FES (N=10) or AFO (N=11). Evaluations were performed at baseline, following 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Spatiotemporal gait parameters and symmetry, dynamic electromyography, 10 meters walk test, 6 minute walk test, timed up and go, functional ambulation classification, and perception of improvement in walking were measured.

Results: Both groups showed improvement in all of the outcome measures, with no statistically significant differences between groups. The symmetry of the swing duration and step length indicated better gait symmetry in the FES group after 12 weeks. The FES group perceived significant improvement in gait, while subjects in the AFO group reported to perceive improvement only after 12 weeks.

Conclusion(s): To conclude, since there were no significant differences in most measured parameters between the two interventions, these findings suggest that FES is at least as effective as the traditional treatment. The improved SI in the research group compared with the control group might suggest that following 12 weeks, the research group is in a lower risk of falls.Furthermore, the immediate increase in the perception of gait ability in the FES group may be an important factor in increasing their motivation, which could accelerate the rehabilitation process.

Implications: The FES device can be used early in rehabilitation and patients can enjoy its benefits

Keywords: Functional Electric Stimulation, Cerebro Vascular Accident, Gait symmetry

Funding acknowledgements: Funded by otto bock, austria

Topic: Robotics & technology; Neurology: stroke; Disability & rehabilitation

Ethics approval required: Yes
Institution: Hadassh hospital
Ethics committee: Helsinki committee of the hospital
Ethics number: HMO-0223-13

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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