Mobility and Imagery

September Journal Club: Cho1, H-Y, Kim, J-S and Lee, G-C (2013) Effects of motor imagery training on balance and gait abilities in post-stroke patients: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, 27(8) 675–680
DOI: 10.1177/0269215512464702

Objective: To investigate the effects of motor imagery training on the balance and gait abilities of post-stroke patients.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation centre.
Subjects: Twenty-eight individuals with chronic stroke.
Interventions: The experimental group (n = 15) performed motor imagery training involving imagining normal gait movement for 15 minutes embedded in gait training for 30 minutes (45 minutes/day, 3 times/week); the control group (n = 13) performed gait training only (30 minutes/day, 3 times/week).
Main measures: Balance and gait abilities were measured by the Functional Reach Test, Timed Up-and-Go Test, 10-m Walk Test and Fugl-Meyer assessment before and after interventions.
Results: All measurements improved significantly compared with baseline values in the experimental group. In the control group, there were significant improvements in all parameters except the Fugl-Meyer assessment. All parameters of the experimental group increased significantly compared to those of the control group as follows: Functional Reach Test (control vs. experimental: 28.1 ± 3.1 vs. 37.51 ± 3.0), Timed Up-and-Go Test (20.7 ± 4.0 vs. 13.2 ± 2.2), 10-m Walk Test (17.4 ± 4.6 vs. 16.0 ± 2.7) and Fugl-Meyer assessment (12.0 ± 2.9 vs. 17.6 ± 1.3).
Conclusions: Gait training with motor imagery training improves the balance and gait abilities of chronic stroke patients significantly better than gait training alone.