Walking is often the number one goal that clients want to improve following stroke. Emphasis is often on the walking pattern or how the walking looks. Optimising the walking pattern after stroke is important to improve walking safety and efficiency, energy conservation and improve overall performance. However an important feature of walking that is often be overlooked is walking speed.
Studies have shown that walking speed is reduced by up to 50% following a stroke which limits participation in day to day activities, socialisation and the ability to walk in the community. This can lead to individuals becoming housebound, socially isolated and dependant on others for extra supports.
Nascimento et al 2015 did a systematic review of 7 clinical trials which looked at training walking speed following stroke using external cues with setting cadence. The cadence/speed of stepping was set using a metronome app. The individuals in the trials were tasked to match their steps to the beat of the metronome which was progressively increased. The results of these trials showed that cueing walking speed using a metronome increased walking speed by 50%, by training for 30minutes a day over a 4 week period.
This is just one example of a cost- effective tool to help retrain walking speed. If you would like more help on how you can improve your walking and get your pace up with your walking post-stroke then get in touch with us.