Effect of Stretching of Spastic Elbow Under Intelligent Control in Chronic Stroke Survivors—A Pilot Study

Sanjana Rao, Meizhen Huang, Sun Gun Chung, Li Qun Zhang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the short-term effects of strenuous dynamic stretching of the elbow joint using an intelligent stretching device in chronic spastic stroke survivors. Methods: The intelligent stretching device was utilized to provide a single session of intensive stretching to the spastic elbow joint in the sagittal plane (i.e., elbow flexion and extension). The stretching was provided to the extreme range, safely, with control of the stretching velocity and torque to increase the joint range of motion (ROM) and reduce spasticity and joint stiffness. Eight chronic stroke survivors (age: 52.6 ± 8.2 years, post-stroke duration: 9.5 ± 3.6 years) completed a single 40-min stretching intervention session. Elbow passive and active ROM, strength, passive stiffness (quantifying the non-reflex component of spasticity), and instrumented tendon reflex test of the biceps tendon (quantifying the reflex component of the spasticity) were measured before and after stretching. Results: After stretching, there was a significant increase in passive ROM of elbow flexion (p = 0.021, r = 0.59) and extension (p = 0.026, r = 0.59). Also, elbow active ROM and the spastic elbow flexors showed a trend of increase in their strength. Conclusion: The intelligent stretching had a short-term positive influence on the passive movement ROM. Hence, intelligent stretching can potentially be used to repeatedly and regularly stretch spastic elbow joints, which subsequently helps to reduce upper limb impairments post-stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Article number742260
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • elbow
  • rehabilitation
  • spasticity
  • stroke
  • tendon reflex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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