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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 381978, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Elbow Extension Predicts Motor Impairment and Performance after Stroke

1Health and Exercise Science Department and Occupational Therapy Department, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2Physical Therapy Program, Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
3NeuroRehabilitation Research Laboratory, Occupational Therapy Department, Colorado State University, 219 Occupational Therapy Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

Received 2 September 2010; Revised 11 November 2010; Accepted 7 December 2010

Academic Editor: Johannes Bussmann

Copyright © 2011 Crystal L. Massie 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.


Background and Purpose. Kinematic motion analysis has helped to characterize poststroke reaching strategies with the hemiparetic arm. However, the relationships between reaching strategy and performance on common functional outcome measures remain unclear. Methods. Thirty-five participants were tested for motor performance and motor impairment using the Wolf Motor Function Test (time and functional ability measure) and Fugl-Meyer assessment, respectively. Kinematic motion analysis of a forward reaching paradigm provided potential predictors of reaching strategy including shoulder flexion, elbow extension, and trunk displacement. A stepwise linear regression model with three potential predictors was used in addition to Pearson-product moment correlations. Results. Kinematic analysis of elbow extension predicted performance on both the Wolf Motor Function Test and Fugl-Meyer assessment. Shoulder flexion and trunk displacement did not significantly predict functional or reaching time outcomes. The Wolf Motor Function Test and the Fugl-Meyer assessment were highly correlated. Conclusions. The ability to incorporate elbow extension during reach is a significant predictor of motor performance and hemiparetic arm motor capacity after stroke.