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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 342529, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/342529
Review Article

A Decade of Progress Using Virtual Reality for Poststroke Lower Extremity Rehabilitation: Systematic Review of the Intervention Methods

1Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry, University of Seville, C/Avicena s/n, 41009 Seville, Spain
2Motion Analysis Laboratory, “Virgen del Rocio” Hospital, Physiotherapy Area, Avenida Manuel Siurot, 41013 Seville, Spain
3Laboratory of Kinematics and Robotics, IRCCS San Camillo Hospital Foundation, Via Alberoni 70, 30126 Venice, Italy
4Department of Nursing and Physiotherapy, University of the Balearic Islands, Carretera de Valldemossa, km 7,5, 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
5Department of Physical Therapy, Francisco Maldonado University School of Osuna, Camino de los Cipreses 1, Osuna, 41640 Seville, Spain

Received 18 November 2014; Revised 5 February 2015; Accepted 15 February 2015

Academic Editor: Angelica Alonso

Copyright © 2015 Carlos Luque-Moreno 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.

Abstract

Objective. To develop a systematic review of the literature, to describe the different virtual reality (VR) interventions and interactive videogames applied to the lower extremity (LE) of stroke patients, and to analyse the results according to the most frequently used outcome measures. Material and Methods. An electronic search of randomized trials between January 2004 and January 2014 in different databases (Medline, Cinahl, Web of Science, PEDro, and Cochrane) was carried out. Several terms (virtual reality, feedback, stroke, hemiplegia, brain injury, cerebrovascular accident, lower limb, leg, and gait) were combined, and finally 11 articles were included according to the established inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results. The reviewed trials showed a high heterogeneity in terms of study design and assessment tools, which makes it difficult to compare and analyze the different types of interventions. However, most of them found a significant improvement on gait speed, balance and motor function, due to VR intervention. Conclusions. Although evidence is limited, it suggests that VR intervention (more than 10 sessions) in stroke patients may have a positive impact on balance, and gait recovery. Better results were obtained when a multimodal approach, combining VR and conventional physiotherapy, was used. Flexible software seems to adapt better to patients’ requirements, allowing more specific and individual treatments.