Effects of Virtual Reality Treadmill Training on Community Balance Confidence and Gait in People Post-Stroke: a randomized controlled trial

Nara Kim, ByoungHee Lee, Yumi Kim and Wonkyu Min

Background: This study investigated therapeutic effects of virtual reality (VR) treadmill training has a positive influence on community balance confidence, and gait ability in patients with stroke.
Methods: This was a hospital-based, randomized controlled trial with a blinded assessor. 27 participants with a first-time stroke were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 groups: VR treadmill training based community ambulation group (VRCA group, n=10), Community Ambulation training group (CA group, n=10), and control group (n=7). Group assignment were placed in envelopes and sealed. Each individual who agree to enter the study randomly selected an envelope with the group assignment enclosed. VRCA group received community based VR on treadmill training. CA group received community based ambulation training. All participants included control group were offered physical therapy. Measurements of balance confidence and gait ability were performed.
Results: The results showed that repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant differences on time effect and time-by-group interaction among groups on TUG, ABC, and 6MWT. ANOVA showed a significant difference in each group about time (Pre-posttest) in gait velocity, cadence, paretic step length and paretic stride length (p< 001), and there was no significant difference on time-by-group interaction.
Conclusion: These results suggest that VR treadmill training based community ambulation and CA training are feasible and beneficial for improvement of community ambulation in poor community ambulatory with stroke.