Muscle strength and locomotion ability in individuals with chronic stroke

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to verify if there are differences in the lower-limb muscle strength (LL) and in the locomotion ability among post-stroke patients classified as community or non-community ambulators. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 60 post-chronic stroke subjects, divided into community (n=33) and non-community (n=27) ambulators by gait speed. The muscle strength of seven bilateral muscle groups of LL was evaluated through the modified sphygmomanometer test and locomotion ability through ABILOCO. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the sample, and Student’s t-test was used for independent samples to compare the two groups of post-stroke individuals. We observed that community ambulators had higher values of muscle strength for most muscle groups of LL (−0.973≥t≥3.189; p≤0.04), and in the locomotion ability (t=−2.841; p=0.006). Community ambulators showed higher LL muscle strength and better locomotion ability compared with non-community ambulators. Physiotherapeutic evaluation of post-stroke individuals should include, besides the measurement of LL muscle strength and its treatment, the measurement of the perception of locomotion ability to analyze the evolution of the patient and the efficacy of the therapeutic behavior.