Effects of Body Weight Support-Tai Chi Footwork Training on Balance Control and Walking Function in Stroke Survivors with Hemiplegia: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Author: Xiao-Ming Yu1, Xue-Ming Jin2, Yan Lu1, Yang Gao3, Hai-Chen Xu1, Xin Xue2, Lei Fang2, Jun Hu2
1 Department of Rehabilitation, Shanghai Seventh People's Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200137, China.
2 School of Rehabilitation Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China.
3 Department of Medical Image, Fanxian People's Hospital, Puyang, Henan 457500, China.
Conference/Journal: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
Date published: 2020 Dec 19
Other: Volume ID: 2020 , Pages: 9218078 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1155/2020/9218078. , Word Count: 282

Tai Chi (TC) is known to enhance balance control and walking function in stroke survivors. However, motor disorders in stroke patients may limit the implementation of TC exercise and increase the risk of falling. The body weight support (BWS) device can provide protection during the early rehabilitation of stroke survivors using an overhead suspension system. Theoretically, combining TC with BWS may be an effective intervention for stroke survivors. This study aimed to examine the effects of body weight support-Tai Chi training on balance control and walking function in stroke survivors with hemiplegia.

Seventy-one stroke survivors with hemiplegia aged 30-75 years were randomly allocated to the control group (N = 35) or the BWS-TC group (N = 36). During BWS-TC training, the subjects performed 7 Tai Chi footwork forms, and gradual easy-to-difficult progression (from 40% to 0% body weight) was followed. The subjects participated in 40 min rehabilitation sessions three times per week for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was dynamic balance in the limits-of-stability test. The secondary outcomes, which reflect improvements walking function, included spatiotemporal parameters, the joint range of motion in the affected limb during the swing phase, the Berg Balance Scale score, and the Fugl-Meyer Assessment score. Evaluations were performed at baseline and 12 weeks and compared between groups.

After training, significant between-group differences were observed in the scores for overall, forward, left, right, forward-left, and forward-right directional control in the limits-of-stability test (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the scores for gait cycle time, step length, step velocity, and range of motion of the joints were better in the BWS-TC group than in the control group (P < 0.05).

The 12-week BWS-TC training may enhance dynamic balance and walking function in stroke survivors with hemiplegia.

PMID: 33414842 PMCID: PMC7769631 DOI: 10.1155/2020/9218078