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Abnormal synergistic gait mitigation in acute stroke using an innovative ankle-knee-hip interlimb humanoid robot: a preliminary randomized controlled trial
Abnormal spasticity and associated synergistic patterns are the most common neuromuscular impairments affecting ankle-knee-hip interlimb coordinated gait kinematics and kinetics in patients with hemiparetic stroke. Although patients with hemiparetic stroke undergo various treatments to improve gait and movement, it remains unknown how spasticity and associated synergistic patterns change after robot-assisted and conventional treatment. We developed an innovative ankle-knee-hip interlimb coordinated humanoid robot (ICT) to mitigate abnormal spasticity and synergistic patterns. The objective of the preliminary clinical trial was to compare the effects of ICT combined with conventional physical therapy (ICT-C) and conventional physical therapy and gait training (CPT-G) on abnormal spasticity and synergistic gait patterns in 20 patients with acute hemiparesis. We performed secondary analyses aimed at elucidating the biomechanical effects of Walkbot ICT on kinematic (spatiotemporal parameters and angles) and kinetic (active force, resistive force, and stiffness) gait parameters before and after ICT in the ICT-C group. The intervention for this group comprised 60-min conventional physical therapy plus 30-min robot-assisted training, 7 days/week, for 2 weeks. Significant biomechanical effects in knee joint kinematics; hip, knee, and ankle active forces; hip, knee, and ankle resistive forces; and hip, knee, and ankle stiffness were associated with ICT-C. Our novel findings provide promising evidence for conventional therapy supplemented by robot-assisted therapy for abnormal spasticity, synergistic, and altered biomechanical gait impairments in patients in the acute post-stroke recovery phase.Trial Registration: Clinical Trials.gov identifier NCT03554642 (14/01/2020).