Objective: To assess the effects of a community-based exercise program on motor recovery and functional abilities of the paretic upper extremity in persons with chronic stroke. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Rehabilitation research laboratory and a community hall. Participants: A sample of 63 people (<50y) with chronic deficits resulting from stroke (onset <1y). Interventions: The arm group underwent an exercise program designed to improve upper-extremity function (1h/session, 3 sessions/wk for 19wk). The leg group underwent a lower-extremity exercise program. Main Outcome Measures: The Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), hand-held dynamometry (grip strength), and the Motor Activity Log. Results: Multivariate analysis showed a significant group by time interaction (Wilks λ=.726, P=.017), indicating that overall, the arm group had significantly more improvement than the leg group. Post hoc analysis demonstrated that gains in WMFT (functional ability) (P=.001) and FMA (P=.001) scores were significantly higher in the arm group. The amount of improvement was comparable to other novel treatment approaches such as constraint-induced movement therapy or robot-aided exercise training previously reported in chronic stroke. Participants with moderate arm impairment benefited more from the program. Conclusions: The pilot study showed that a community-based exercise program can improve upper-extremity function in persons with chronic stroke. This outcome justifies a larger clinical trial to further assess efficacy and cost effectiveness.
- Cerebrovascular accident
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation