Body weight-supported treadmill training is no better than overground training for individuals with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Addie Middleton, Angela Merlo-Rains, Denise Peters, Jennifaye Greene, Erika Blanck, Robert Moran, Stacy Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Background: Body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) has produced mixed results compared with other therapeutic techniques. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether an intensive intervention (intensive mobility training) including BWSTT provides superior gait, balance, and mobility outcomes compared with a similar intervention with overground gait training in place of BWSTT. Methods: Forty-three individuals with chronic stroke (mean [SD] age, 61.5 [13.5] years; mean [SD] time since stroke, 3.3 [3.8] years), were randomized to a treatment (BWSTT, n = 23) or control (overground gait training, n = 20) group. Treatment consisted of 1 hour of gait training; 1 hour of balance activities; and 1 hour of strength, range of motion, and coordination for 10 consecutive weekdays (30 hours). Assessments (step length differential, self-selected and fast walking speed, 6-minute walk test, Berg Balance Scale [BBS], Dynamic Gait Index [DGI], Activities-specific Balance Confidence [ABC] scale, single limb stance, Timed Up and Go [TUG], Fugl-Meyer [FM], and perceived recovery [PR]) were conducted before, immediately after, and 3 months after intervention. Results: No significant differences (α = 0.05) were found between groups after training or at follow-up; therefore, groups were combined for remaining analyses. Significant differences (α = 0.05) were found pretest to posttest for fast walking speed, BBS, DGI, ABC, TUG, FM, and PR. DGI, ABC, TUG, and PR results remained significant at follow-up. Effect sizes were small to moderate in the direction of improvement. Conclusions: Future studies should investigate the effectiveness of intensive interventions of durations greater than 10 days for improving gait, balance, and mobility in individuals with chronic stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-476
Number of pages15
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • balance
  • gait
  • mobility
  • rehabilitation
  • stroke
  • treadmill training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology

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