Characteristics of proactive balance and gait performance in subacute stroke patients demonstrating varying reactive balance capacity: A research study

Shirley Handelzalts, Ganit Gray, Flavia Steinberg-Henn, Nachum Soroker, Itshak Melzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Persons with stroke (PwS) demonstrate impaired reactive balance control placing them at increased risk of falls. Yet, tests used in clinical practice to assess this risk usually rely on proactive balance control. OBJECTIVE: To investigate differences in proactive balance in PwS with varying reactive balance capacity. METHODS: Reactive balance control was assessed in 48 first-event subacute PwS by measuring multiple-step threshold and fall threshold in response to unannounced surface perturbations. They were classified as low-, medium- high- threshold fallers and non-fallers in accordance with the perturbation magnitude at which they were unable to maintain balance (fall threshold). Proactive balance control and gait performance were tested using the Berg Balance test, 10-meter walk test, 6-minute walk test and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC). RESULTS: PwS who demonstrated poor reactive balance capacity were also more impaired in their proactive balance and gait. Proactive balance and gait performance were significantly different between the 4 groups while ABC was not. The associations between reactive and proactive measures of balance were moderate (r = 0.53-0.67). CONCLUSIONS: The moderate correlations between reactive and proactive balance control suggest the recruitment of different neural mechanisms for these two operations, highlighting the importance of assessing and treating reactive balance in clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-500
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroRehabilitation
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Stroke
  • balance proactive control
  • balance reactive control
  • fall threshold
  • falls
  • gait

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