Does Cycling Training Augmented by Functional Electrical Stimulation Impact on Muscle Synergies in Post-acute Stroke Patients?
Cycling induced by Functional electrical stimulation (FES) was proposed as a method to improve motor recovery after stroke. This study aimed at assessing the effects of this training on motor patterns of muscle co-activations, referred as muscle synergies. Seven post-acute patients underwent 15 sessions of FES-cycling training. Outcome measures were Motricity Index and gait speed collected before (T0) and after (T1) the intervention. Subjects were also involved in a cycling test during which four muscle synergies were extracted from 9 lower limb muscles and compared with a healthy control group. Results showed a significant improvement in terms of gait speed, which increased from a median value of 81.0 cm/s at T0 to 100.0 cm/s at T1. Trends of improvement in both spatial and temporal components of muscle synergies were also achieved. More data are needed to drive final conclusions about the effects of FES-cycling on muscle synergies but first results are promising.