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Functional implications of impaired control of submaximal hip flexion following stroke



Introduction: We quantified submaximal torque regulation during low to moderate intensity isometric hip flexion contractions in individuals with stroke and the associations with leg function. Methods: Ten participants with chronic stroke and 10 controls performed isometric hip flexion contractions at 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, and 40% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) in paretic, nonparetic, and control legs. Results: Participants with stroke had larger torque fluctuations (coefficient of variation, CV), for both the paretic and nonparetic legs, than controls (P < 0.05) with the largest CV at 5% MVC in the paretic leg (P < 0.05). The paretic CV correlated with walking speed (r2 = 0.54) and Berg Balance Score (r2 = 0.40). At 5% MVC, there were larger torque fluctuations in the contralateral leg during paretic contractions compared with the control leg. Conclusions: Impaired low-force regulation of paretic leg hip flexion can be functionally relevant and related to control versus strength deficits poststroke. Muscle Nerve 49: 225–232, 2014