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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 692137, 13 pages
Review Article

Is Weight-Bearing Asymmetry Associated with Postural Instability after Stroke? A Systematic Review

1ViaReva, Centre for Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 812, 7301 BB Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
2Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen Centre for Evidence Based Practice, Department of Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
3Sint Maartenskliniek, Research, Development & Education, P.O. Box 9011, 6500 GM Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Received 31 October 2012; Revised 28 January 2013; Accepted 18 March 2013

Academic Editor: Catherine Said

Copyright © 2013 Jip F. Kamphuis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Improvement of postural stability is an important goal during poststroke rehabilitation. Since weight-bearing asymmetry (WBA) towards the nonparetic leg is common, training of weight-bearing symmetry has been a major focus in post-stroke balance rehabilitation. It is assumed that restoration of a more symmetrical weight distribution is associated with improved postural stability. Objective. To determine to what extent WBA is associated with postural instability in people after stroke. Methods. Electronic databases were searched (Cochrane, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL) until March 2012. Main Eligibility Criteria. (1) Participants were people after stroke. (2) The association between WBA and postural stability was reported. Quality of reporting was assessed with the STROBE checklist and a related tool for reporting of confounding. Results. Nine observational studies met all criteria. Greater spontaneous WBA was associated with higher center of pressure (COP) velocity and with poorer synchronization of COP trajectories between the legs (two and one studies, resp.). Evidence for associations between WBA and performance on clinical balance tests or falls was weak. Conclusion. Greater WBA after stroke was associated with increased postural sway, but the current literature does not provide evidence for a causal relationship. Further studies should investigate whether reducing WBA would improve postural stability.