Paretic propulsion changes with handrail Use in individuals post-stroke

Erica H. Hinton, Samuel Bierner, Darcy S. Reisman, Aaron Likens, Brian A. Knarr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Roughly 800,000 people experience a stroke every year in the United States, and about 30% of people require walking assistance (walker, cane, etc.) after a stroke. Gait training on a treadmill is a common rehabilitation activity for individuals post-stroke and handrails are typically used to assist with walking during this training, however individual interaction with these handrails are not usually considered and quantitatively reported. Individuals may exert force onto the handrails to aid with propulsive force, but the relationship between limb propulsive force and handrail propulsive force are not known. Research question: How do individuals post-stroke alter paretic propulsive force when using an assistive device, such as handrails on a treadmill? Methods: Twenty-one individuals post-stroke (eight current assistive device users and thirteen individuals who do not use an assistive device) walked on a treadmill for 3 min during three conditions: no handrail use, light handrail use (<5% BW) and self-selected handrail use. Three multilevel models were used to compare percent handrail, paretic and nonparetic propulsion between handrail conditions and assistive device groups. Results: The handrail propulsive impulse was more during the self-selected handrail condition compared to the light handrail condition (p = 0.002). The assistive device use group and the handrail condition fixed effects significantly improved the model fit for paretic propulsive impulse (p = 0.01). The interaction between assistive device use group and handrail condition significantly improved the model fit for nonparetic propulsive impulse (p < 0.001). Significance: These results suggest that handrail use may impact paretic propulsive impulse. Our initial results suggest that if the goal of rehabilitation treadmill training is to increase the paretic propulsive impulse, having the clinician encourage walking with the handrails may be optimal to promote paretic propulsion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere26924
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 15 2024


  • Assistive device
  • Handrail force
  • Hemiparesis
  • Propulsion
  • Treadmill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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