Background: The Gait Exercise Assist Robot (GEAR) has been developed to support gait training for stroke patients. The GEAR can assist paretic lower limb swing and stance stability, which make it possible to practice walking without excessive compensation movements. However, there are no studies to-date that investigate the effect of the GEAR on gait pattern. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to clarify the effect of gait training on gait pattern using the GEAR for rehabilitation in stroke patients. Methods: Fifteen hemiplegic patients who received gait training using the GEAR were recruited (GEAR group). As a control group, hemiplegic patients who did not receive gait training using the GEAR were selected for each patient in the GEAR group from 114 cases in our hospital database. Primary outcomes were index values indicating the degree of 10 abnormal gait patterns. Secondary outcomes were spatiotemporal factors and comfortable overground gait velocity. Results: Index values for abnormal gait patterns were significantly lower in the GEAR group compared to the control group for insufficient knee flexion during the swing phase, hip hiking, and excessive lateral shift of the trunk over the unaffected-side (p < .05). The comfortable overground gait velocity, stride length, and unaffected-step length in the GEAR group were significantly better than in the control group (p < .05). Conclusions: Gait training using the GEAR had effects on reducing abnormal gait patterns and improving gait velocity, stride, and unaffected-side step length compared to conventional gait training alone in individuals recovering from stroke-induced hemiplegia.
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