Effectiveness of Additional Trunk Exercises on Gait Performance


Phase N/A Results N/A

Trial Description

The aim of this study is to further explore the effects of additional customized trunk exercises on clinical and biomechanical gait performance. Despite of the evidence demonstrating the importance of trunk control after stroke, studies about the effects of trunk rehabilitation on gait performance are inconsistent. The findings of this study might lead to new scientific insights in the importance of the trunk during gait rehabilitation in people suffering from stroke submitted to a rehabilitation hospital.

Detailed Description

Objective: To examine the effects of additional trunk exercises on gait performance via clinical and biomechanical assessments in patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation after stroke.
Design: The design of this study is an assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial. Prior to evaluation, participants will be randomly allocated to either the experimental or control group by means of concealed envelopes. The number of patients required for this study was calculated a priori to ensure sufficient statistical power. Analysis showed that a sample size of 30 patients in each group was necessary to detect a difference (ES1) with 80 % using a two-tailed hypothesis (with significance of p=0.05).
Intervention: All patients will receive a multidisciplinary conventional stroke rehabilitation program provided by the rehabilitation staff. The control group will receive a series of cognitive exercises focusing on aspects of memory (visual, auditory, and working memory), attention (sustained attention and selective attention), and executive functioning (planning and problem-solving). The additional training of the trunk training group focuses on trunk muscle strength, coordination and selective movements. The training program will consist of task-specific movements of the upper and lower part of the trunk both in supine and sitting position on stable and unstable surfaces (physio balls). The following trunk exercises will be performed: bridging, reaching, lower/upper trunk rotations, lower/upper trunk lateral flexion, upper/lower trunk flexion, ...
Outcome measures:
1. Tinetti Test
2. Gait parameters recorded during 3D-Full body gait analysis:
Gait analysis was performed at the M²OCEAN movement analysis laboratory (Multidisciplinary Motor Centre Antwerp, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Edegem). VICON analysis system (©Vicon Motion Systems Ltd., London, UK) which is the golden standard for 3D motion analysis. Eight infrared automated cameras (Vicon T10 cameras, 100 fps, 1 Megapixel) measured the 3D coordinates of reflective motion trackers. Two video cameras recorded the walking pattern of the participants in the sagittal and frontal plane. In addition, initial contact and toe off were measured based on the ankle trajectories of the reflective markers together with 3 AMTI type OR 6-7 force plates (1000 fps, 46x50x8 cm) and 1 AccuGait® (1000 fps) force plate recordings. Subsequently, the movement analysis lab is equipped with a 16 channel telemetric wireless electromyographic (EMG) system (Arion Zerowire) which measures muscle activity. Recordings where analysed using the Vicon Nexus 1.8.5. software. Step time parameters and gait kinematics were filtered (Butterworth filter) and further processed in Matlab® (The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, Massachusetts, U.S.A.).
3. Trunk Impairment Scale, Barthel Index
Follow-up. One month post intervention patients will be again subjected to clinical and biomechanical assessment to measure the sustainability of trunk exercises over time.



  • Trunk training Other
    Intervention Desc: The experimental group receives 16 hours of additional trunk training (4 days/week, 4 weeks) focusing on trunk muscle strength, coordination and selective movements executed on stable and unstable surfaces.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Trunk training
  • Cognitive exercises Other
    Intervention Desc: The control group will be receiving the same amount of repetitive cognitive exercises within arm's range to ensure no anticipatory postural adjustments of the trunk.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Cognitive exercises

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary The change in temporal gait parameters week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Primary The change in spatial gait parameters week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Primary The change is muscle activity of the trunk and lower legs during walking week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Primary The change in kinematic parameters of the trunk, hip, knee, and ankle week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Primary The change in kinetic parameters of the trunk, hip, knee, and ankle week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Secondary The change in Trunk Impairment Scale (TIS) week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Secondary The change in Tinetti Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment week 0, week 5, and week 9 No
Secondary The change in Functional Independence Measure (FIM) week 0, week 5, and week 9 No