Speed of Voluntary Stepping in Chronic Stroke Survivors Under Single- and Dual-Task Conditions: A Case-Control Study

Itshak Melzer, Irit Tzedek, Michal Or, Gali Shvarth, Oranit Nizri, Keren Ben-Shitrit, Lars E. Oddsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Melzer I, Tzedek I, Or M, Shvarth G, Nizri O, Ben-Shitrit K, Oddsson LE. Speed of voluntary stepping in chronic stroke survivors under single- and dual-task conditions: a case-control study. Objective: To investigate voluntary step behavior of chronic stroke survivors during single- and dual-task conditions and compare the results to healthy age- and sex-matched controls. Design: Case-control. Setting: Laboratory-based study. Participants: Chronic stroke survivors (n=16) and healthy controls (n=16). Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Forward and backward rapid voluntary stepping were performed as a reaction time task under 2 conditions: (1) awaiting a cutaneous cue (single task), and (2) awaiting a cutaneous cue while performing an attention-demanding task. Step initiation, preparatory and swing phases, foot-off time, and foot-contact time were extracted from center of pressure and ground reaction forceplate data. Results: Chronic stroke survivors were significantly slower than healthy controls in all step parameters under single- and dual-task conditions. For dual compared with single task, the foot-contact time increased from 1295ms to 1445ms (12%) in chronic stroke survivors and from 876ms to 1006ms (15%) in controls. Conclusions: The significant increase in step phase's duration during single- and dual-task conditions may be a factor contributing to the large number of falls seen in stroke patients. The interference effects of attention-demanding task were similar between groups, suggesting that both groups used similar strategies. Future research should determine whether step training can improve step decrements in chronic stroke survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-933
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Accidental falls
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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