Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Kara Patterson


Gait and balance dysfunction after stroke limit independence and quality of life. Numerous contributing factors have been investigated but the role of sensation deficits has received little attention. This thesis investigated the relationship between plantar cutaneous sensation and 1) standing balance, 2) gait, and 3) use of vision to compensate for sensory loss with a secondary analysis of data from individuals with subacute stroke. Associations between standing balance, gait and sensation were investigated with Spearman correlations. Individuals classified as impaired or intact sensation were compared on gait and standing balance measures. This thesis found plantar sensation is related to standing balance but not spatiotemporal gait parameters. Individuals with impaired sensation were not more likely to employ vision as a compensatory strategy. These results suggest plantar sensation should be addressed during post-stroke rehabilitation of standing balance. Future work should investigate changes in cutaneous sensation with recovery of balance and gait post-stroke.