Background: After stroke, in order to improve gait function, it is necessary to increase the muscle strength and to enhance the propriocetive function of the lower extremity.
Objects: This study aimed to compare the effects of open kinetic chain (OKC) versus closed kinetic chain (CKC) isokinetic exercise of the hemiparetic knee using the isokinetic equipment on lower extremity sensorimotor function and gait ability in patients with chronic stroke.
Methods: Thirty participants with chronic hemiplegia (> 6 months post-stroke) were randomly divided into 2 equal groups: CKC group and OKC group. Patients from both groups attended conventional physiotherapy sessions 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Additionally, subjects from the CKC group performed isokinetic exercise using the CKC attachment, while those from the OKC group performed isokinetic exercise using the OKC attachment. The isokinetic knee and ankle muscles strength, position sense of the knee joint, and spatiotemporal gait parameters were measured before and after interventions.
Results: The knee muscles peak torque/body weight (PT/BW) and hamstring/quadriceps (H/Q) ratio significantly increased in both groups (p<.01). In particular, ankle plantarflexors PT/BW, position sense of the knee, gait velocity, and spatial gait symmetry significantly improved in the CKC group (p<.01, p<.05, p<.01, and p<.01, respectively).
Conclusion: CKC isokinetic exercise can be an effective therapeutic intervention for the improvement of sensorimotor function of the lower extremity and gait functions, such as gait velocity and symmetry. CKC position in isokinetic strength training is effective to improve functional ability in patients with chronic stroke.