Effects of intensive gait-oriented physiotherapy during early acute phase of stroke.

Peurala SH, Airaksinen O, Jäkälä P, Tarkka IM, Sivenius J

This study assessed the effects and strenuousness of intensive gait-oriented inpatient rehabilitation initiated very early after stroke. Therapy content and interrater reliability of the assessments were also analyzed. Of 22 patients, 19 completed the study. Before rehabilitation, 13 patients were unable to walk or needed two assistants to walk and 6 patients needed one assistant. Patients spent a daily maximum of 1 h therapy time to obtain 20 min of walking. Additional physiotherapy was also provided during the 3 wk therapy period. Seven structured motor tests were recorded before and after rehabilitation and at 6 months postrehabilitation, and perceived exertion was followed during physiotherapy. After rehabilitation, 16 patients could walk unassisted and 3 needed one assistant to walk. After 3 wk, the patients' 10 m walking time, ankle spasticity, lower-limb muscle force, and motor scale scores improved. The early intensive rehabilitation was well tolerated and only three patients dropped out. Improved motor abilities were seen in all stroke patients.

Journal of Rehabilitation and Research Development, 2007, 44(5), 637-48

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