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Following stroke, people commonly demonstrate locomotor impairments including reduced walking speed and spatiotemporal asymmetry. Rehabilitation programs have been effective in increasing gait speed, but spatiotemporal asymmetry has been more resistant to change. The inability to modify gait patterns for improved symmetry may be related, in part, to impairments in lower extremity sensation. Assessment of lower extremity sensory impairments in people post stroke, including cutaneous and proprioceptive sensation, has been insufficiently studied. Conventional rehabilitation programs, including body weight-supported walking or robotic assistance, that modify sensory feedback intended to alter lower extremity movement patterns have shown limited success in improving gait symmetry. Rehabilitation programs that amplify specific gait asymmetries have demonstrated the potential to ultimately produce more symmetric gait, presumably by allowing individuals post stroke to more readily perceive their gait asymmetry. The effectiveness of such error augmentation paradigms, however, may be influenced by lower extremity sensation and the ability of the central nervous system to be aware of altered lower extremity movement. The purpose of this review is to critically examine the literature on lower extremity sensory function and its influence on gait adaptation in people post stroke.


Clinton J Wutzke, Vicki S Mercer, Michael D Lewek. Influence of lower extremity sensory function on locomotor adaptation following stroke: a review. Topics in stroke rehabilitation. 2013 May-Jun;20(3):233-40

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PMID: 23841971

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