Objective: To investigate the effect of repeated feedback-controlled and programmed "intelligent" stretching of the ankle plantar- and dorsiflexors to treat subjects with ankle spasticity and/or contracture in stroke. Design: Noncontrolled trial. Setting: Institutional research center. Participants: Subjects with spasticity and/or contracture after stroke. Interventions: Stretching of the plantar- and dorsiflexors of the ankle 3 times a week for 45 minutes during a 4-week period by using a feedback-controlled and programmed stretching device. Main Outcome Measures: Passive and active range of motion (ROM), muscle strength, joint stiffness, joint viscous damping, reflex excitability, comfortable walking speed, and subjective experiences of the subjects. Results: Significant improvements were found in the passive ROM, maximum voluntary contraction, ankle stiffness, and comfortable walking speed. The visual analog scales indicated very positive subjective evaluation in terms of the comfort of stretching and the effect on their involved ankle. Conclusions: Repeated feedback-controlled or intelligent stretching had a positive influence on the joint properties of the ankle with spasticity and/or contracture after stroke. The stretching device may be an effective and safe alternative to manual passive motion treatment by a therapist and has potential to be used to repeatedly and regularly stretch the ankle of subjects with spasticity and/or contracture without daily involvement of clinicians or physical therapists.
- Cerebrovascular accident
- Muscle spasticity
- Physical therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation