Restoring walking ability is one of the primary goals of stroke rehabilitation. Failure to walk following a stroke can lead to serious long-term disability. About one-third of individuals surviving an acute stroke are unable to walk three months after being admitted to hospital (Wade et al. 1987). Walking can be affected by residual impairments and disabilities including impaired balance, muscle stiffness, and decreased motor function. One method for retraining walking has been through partial body weight support (BWS) combined with treadmill training. The person is partially suspended in a harness either from the ceiling or from an apparatus frame (see photograph), in order to reduce weight bearing and provide postural support for treadmill walking. The amount of support can be gradually decreased as postural control, balance, and coordination begin to improve.
Authors*: Angela Kim, BSc; Adam Kagan, BSc; Anita Menon MSc. erg; Dr. Robert Teasell; Sanjit Bhogal MSc; Norine Foley BSc; Mark Speechley; Chelsea Hellings; Dr. Nicol Korner-Bitensky; Geoffroy Hubert BSc. Lic. K.
Evidence reviewed as of before 23-11-2010