Original Article

Influence of gait exercise using a walking-assist robot for swing-leg motion in hemiplegic stroke patients: a preliminary study focusing on the immediate effect

Ren Fujii, PT, MS, Makoto Tamari, PT, PhD, Yuki Nonaka, PT, MS, Fumiaki Tamiya, PT, Hiroshi Hosokawa, MD, Shinichiro Tanaka, MD
Jpn J Compr Rehabil Sci 13: 49-55, 2022

Objective: We analyzed the effect of gait training using a walking-assist robot that assists a subject's knee joint movement and leg swing to achieve toe clearance of the paralyzed-side lower limb during treadmill walking.
Methods: The subjects were 10 hemiplegic stroke patients in a rehabilitation ward. The intervention consisted of gait training using the Welwalk WW-1000 (Welwalk) robot for 40 min. Immediately before and after this intervention, a gait analysis of the patients' treadmill walking was performed by a three-dimensional motion capture system. Statistical analyses compared the foot-to-floor distance and the shortening of hip-toe length (SHTL) of the paralyzed side before and after the intervention, and examined the relationship between the change of lower-limb joint kinematics and toe clearance before and after the intervention.
Results: The post-intervention SHTL was significantly lower compared to before the intervention, and there was a significant negative correlation between the change in the SHTL and the knee flexion angle from before to after the intervention.
Conclusion: Gait exercise using the Welwalk could contribute to the acquisition of more normal leg-swing strategies.

Key words: gait exercise assist robot Welwalk, hemiplegic stroke patients, toe clearance, shortening of hip-toe length, gait exercise

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