Assessment of the correlations between gait speed in post-stroke patients and the time from stroke onset, the level of motor control in the paretic lower limb, proprioception, visual field impairment and functional independence
Introduction: Gait recovery is one of the main objectives in the rehabilitation of post-stroke patients. The study aim was to assess the correlations between gait speed in post-stroke hemiparetic patients and the level of motor control in the paretic lower limb, the time from stroke onset, the subjects’ age as well as the impairment of proprioception and visual field.
Materials and methods: This retrospective study was performed at the Clinical Rehabilitation Ward of the Regional Hospital No. 2 in Rzeszow. The study group consisted of 600 patients after a first stroke who walked independently. The measurements focused on gait speed assessed in a 10-meter walking test, motor control in the lower limb according to Brunnström recovery stages, proprioception in lower limbs, visual field as well as functional independence according to The Barthel Index.
Results: The study revealed a slight negative correlation between gait speed and the subjects’ age (r = − 0.25). No correlation was found between mean gait speed and the time from stroke onset. On the other hand, gait speed strongly correlated both with the level of motor control in the lower limb (p = 0.0008) and the incidence of impaired proprioception. Additionally, a strong statistically significant correlation between the patients’ gait speed and the level of functional independence was found with the use of The Barthel Index.
Conclusions: The level of motor control in the paretic lower limb and proprioception are vital factors affecting gait speed and functional independence. Patients with a higher level of functional independence demonstrated higher gait speed.