Task-oriented biofeedback improves gait in stroke patients

Researchers from the Don Gnocchi Foundation I.R.C.C.S., in Milan, Italy tell us electromyographic biofeedback (EMG-BFB) shows equivocal benefits on gait retraining after stroke.

In this study they evaluated EMG-BFB applied in a task-oriented approach to increase peak ankle power of the affected leg and gait velocity in patients with hemiparesis.

First, the details.

  • 20 patients with chronic mild-to-moderate partial paralysis affecting only one side of the body were randomly assigned to EMG-BFB or a control group that received conventional therapy.
  • EMG-BFB involved the triceps surae during functional gait activities.
  • Treatment was administered with a fading frequency of BFB application and an increasing variability in gait activities.
  • Both groups had 20 treatments of 45 minutes each, including at least 15 minutes of walking-related therapy for the control group.
  • Follow-up gait analysis was obtained 6 weeks after training.

And, the results.

  • BFB treatment led to significant increases in peak ankle power at push-off with significant increases in velocity and stride length.
  • The increases remained significant at 6 weeks.
  • The control group showed no improvement.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “A task-oriented BFB treatment was effective.”

They would like to see studies in more severely impaired patients.

1/8/10 22:00 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.