Original article| Volume 91, ISSUE 11, P1731-1736, November 2010

Effect of a Bout of Leg Cycling With Electrical Stimulation on Reduction of Hypertonia in Patients With Stroke


      Yeh C-Y, Tsai K-H, Su F-C, Lo H-C. Effect of a bout of leg cycling with electrical stimulation on reduction of hypertonia in patients with stroke.


      To evaluate whether a bout of leg cycling in patients with stroke reduces muscle tone and to determine whether neuromuscular functional electrical stimulation (FES) to the affected leg during cycling is more effective than cycling without FES.


      Within-subject comparison.


      University hospital.


      Patients with stroke (N=16; age range, 42-72y; <8wk poststroke) with hypertonia in the affected leg.


      Subjects' affected leg (1) performed cycling exercise with the assistance of FES (assisted-cycling session) and (2) performed cycling exercise without the assistance of FES (nonassisted-cycling session). Subjects sat in a specially designed wheelchair positioned on a resistance-free roller for each 20-minute session.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Changes in muscle tone pre- and posttest session were compared by using the Modified Ashworth Scale and the pendulum test (relaxation index and peak velocity).


      Modified Ashworth Scale scores were significantly lower (P<.05) and relaxation index and peak velocity values were significantly higher (P<.05) after both sessions. Changes in Modified Ashworth Scale scores, relaxation index, and peak velocity values showed a significant (P<.05) difference between the 2 sessions, and assisted cycling reduced hypertonia more than nonassisted cycling.


      The hypertonia of patients with stroke showed a significant decrease immediately after a bout of leg-cycling exercise. FES-assisted leg cycling was better than nonassisted cycling for reducing hypertonia.

      Key Words

      List of Abbreviations:

      FES (functional electrical stimulation)
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