Intensive In-Bed Sensorimotor Rehabilitation of Early Subacute Stroke Survivors with Severe Hemiplegia Using a Wearable Robot

Chunyang Zhang, Mei Zhen Huang, Glenn J. Kehs, Robynne G. Braun, John W. Cole, Li Qun Zhang (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Rehabilitation for stroke survivors with severe motor impairment remains challenging. Early motor rehabilitation is critical for improving mobility function post stroke, but it is often delayed due to limited resources in clinical practice. The objectives of this study were to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of early in-bed sensorimotor rehabilitation on acute stroke survivors with severe hemiplegia using a wearable ankle robot. Eighteen patients (9 in the study group and 9 in the control group) with severe hemiplegia and no active ankle movement were enrolled in acute/subacute phase post stroke. During a typical 3-week hospital stay, patients in the study group received ankle robot-guided in-bed training (50 minutes/session, 5 sessions/week), including motor relearning under real-time visual feedback of re-emerging motor output, strong passive stretching under intelligent control, and game-based active movement training with robotic assistance. Whereas the control group received passive ankle movement in the mid-range of motion and attempted active ankle movement without robotic assistance. After multi-session training, the study group achieved significantly greater improvements in Fugl-Meyer Lower Extremity motor score (p = 0.007), plantarflexor strength (p = 0.009), and active range of motion (p = 0.011) than controls. The study group showed earlier motor recovery for plantarflexion and dorsiflexion than the control group (p < 0.05). This study showed that in-bed sensorimotor rehabilitation guided by a wearable ankle robot through combining motor relearning in real-time feedback, strong passive stretching, and active movement training facilitated early motor recovery for stroke survivors with severe hemiplegia in the acute/subacute phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2252-2259
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ankle robot
  • in-bed rehabilitation
  • lower extremity
  • motor recovery
  • severe hemiplegia
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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