The effects of underswater exercise on lower limb muscle strength and walking ability of stroke patients during recovering stage
Wang, Y, Huang, L, Zhang, L, Xu, W, Fan, J, Wang, H & Zhou, S 2013, 'The effects of underswater exercise on lower limb muscle strength and walking ability of stroke patients during recovering stage', Chinese Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, vol. 28, no. 10, pp. 929-933.
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Objective: To investigate the effects of underwater exercise on lower limb muscle strength, spasticity and walking ability of stroke patients during recovering stage. Method: The patients [n=20, age: (41.5±16.5) years], who suffered from stroke during recovering stage, were randomly allocated into two groups: hydrotherapy group and control group, each group 10 patients. Routine rehabilitation exercises were performed in control group. The 25min underwater exercise, three or four sessions a week, were performed in hydrotherapy group in addition to routine rehabilitation exercise. Both groups took the same therapeutic time for each session, 45 min, 5 times a week, 14 times, for four weeks. The strength of maximum isometric voluntary contraction (MIVC) of flexion and extension of paretic knee and ankle, lower limb spasticity, motor function and walking ability of patients were assessed before and after exercises, t-test statistical analyses was used to compare the differences. Result: In hydrotherapy group after 4 weeks exercise the gastrocnemius isometric contraction torque during ankle plantation demonstrated significant increase (3.6±0.3 vs 0.6±0.2, P<0.05). The significant increase of lower limb motor function (3.5±1.5 vs 2.1±1.2), walking ability (29.7±3.5 vs 27.8±2.6) and equilibrium function (11.5±3.3 vs 9.3±2.9) were found (P<0.05). There was no signficant change of spastieity of rectus femoris and gastrocnemius pre- and post-exercises (P≤0.05). Conclusion: The short period underwater exercise could enhance the muscular strength of paretic ankle flexion without increasing spasticity of stroke patients during recovering stage. It is benef; cial for improving lower limb motor function and walking ability of stroke patients.