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The effect of slings on lower extremity weight bearing and postural sway in hemiplegic subjects

1 May 1990


The theory behind the use of an upper extremity sling on the hemiplegic arm of a stroke patient, is to decrease shoulder pain and subluxation as well as to protect the glenohumeral joint from further pain and trauma. Along with the controversy over the direct effects of the sling's immobilizing trait, much discussion has occurred between physical and occupational therapists as to the influence of the upper extremity sling on the hemiplegic individual's balance. Balance is a key factor for the progression of ambulation in the stroke patient. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess the effect of the Harris Hemi-sling on the postural sway and the right/left and anterior/posterior change in center of balance, in normal and hemiplegic subjects. Forty subjects, twenty in each group, were tested on the Chattecx Balance System under two conditions: with and without the hermi-sling. Results of the study indicated no significant difference in the sway and degree . of change for right/left center of balance between the two groups. The change in anterior/posterior center of balance for the normal and hemiplegic group was found to be significant. Close analysis of the graphed data revealed that the hemiplegic group appeared to demonstrate more change in sway, right/left and anterior/posterior center of balance, than did the normal group.


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