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Background and Objectives: Stroke likely makes the patients to have hemiplegia that affects their walking ability. Currently, there is no report on the ability of community participation in patients with stroke who walked with and without assistive devices. This study investigated and compared ability of community participation in these patients using walking speed and walking distance.
Methods: Subjects were 42 independent ambulatory patients with stroke. They were divided into three groups according to the types of device used. All subjects were assessed for their walking ability using the 10-meter walk test (10MWT) and 6-minute walk test (6MWT).
Results: Subjects who walked without a walking device could walk at the fastest speed and longest distance, followed by those who walked with a single cane and multiple-legged cane, respectively. Their average comfortable speed ranged from 0.25-0.70 m/s, with the average fastest speed of 0.31-0.93 m/s and average distance of 78-238 meters.
Conclusions: Walking ability of the subjects was obviously less than that required as a minimum level for community participation (a walking speed at least 0.80 m/s, a minimum walking distance of 332 meters). Therefore, apart from ability of independent walking, physical therapists need to improve walking ability in order to promote community participation of the patients.
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