The experimental group received treadmill walking with body weigh

The experimental group received treadmill walking with body weight support and the control group received assisted overground

walking. The participants and therapists delivering the intervention were not blinded to the intervention. At 6 months after admission to the study, walking quality and capacity were measured in those participants who achieved independent walking while walking perception, community participation, and falls were measured on all participants. All outcomes were measured by an investigator who was blinded to group allocation. Stroke patients were included if they were within 28 days of their first stroke, aged between 50 and 85 years, diagnosed clinically with hemiparesis or hemiplegia, and were non-ambulatory, which was defined as scoring 0 Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Library or 1 on Item 5 (Walking) of the Motor Assessment Scale for Stroke (Carr et al 1985). They were excluded if they had: clinically-evident brainstem signs, severe cognitive and/or language deficits that precluded them from following instructions, unstable cardiac status, or any pre-morbid conditions that precluded them from rehabilitation. On entry to the study, the presence of sensory loss was measured using the Nottingham Sensory

Assessment with the scores reversed so 0 is normal and 2 is absent sensation (Lincoln et al 1998). Neglect was measured Ruxolitinib by the line bisection test where 0 is < 5 mm from midline and 2 is > 20 mm (Parton et al 2004). Spasticity of the ankle plantarflexors was measured by the Ashworth Scale where 0 is normal and 4 is a rigid limb (Ashworth 1964). Therapists were included if they were registered physiotherapists and prepared to undergo specific training to follow the trial protocol. Students were only involved under supervision

of a trained therapist. Therapists were excluded if they were doing a locum or about to rotate out of the rehabilitation unit. Years since graduation, highest qualification, and previous research experience second were recorded. Centres with rehabilitation units were included if they had acute stroke units on site or had strong links with off-site units. The volume of strokes managed per year and the physiotherapist: patient ratio were recorded for each centre. The experimental group practised walking on a treadmill while supported in a harness. Initial body weight support was set so that the knee was within 15 degrees of extension in mid-stance. Initial speed of the treadmill was set so that the therapist had time to assist the leg to swing through while maintaining a reasonable step length. If a participant was too disabled to walk on a moving treadmill with the assistance of a therapist, they stepped on the spot. The amount of body weight support was reduced once participants could (i) swing their affected leg through without help, (ii) maintain a straight knee during stance phase without hyperextension, and (iii) maintain an adequate step length without help. Once they attained a speed of 0.

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