Effects of horse-riding exercise on balance, gait, and activities of daily living in stroke patients
Yong-Nam Kim, PhD, Dong-Kyu Lee, MS
J. Phys. Ther. Sci. Vol. 27, No. 3, 2015
Stroke, caused by ischemia or hemorrhage, results from the interruption of blood supply to the brain that induces constant deficiency of oxygen and causes brain damage. Though fatality after stroke has been greatly reduced by the development of medical technology, stroke presents physical and mental obstacles that impair quality of life1. Once a stroke has occurred, various motor skills deteriorate, and therefore stroke rehabilitation focuses greatly on exercises designed to recover motor skills.
Balance is the ability to sustain the center of gravity, and it is a complex process of controlling posture when conducting a voluntary movement and responding to external perturbations. Stroke patients often experience hemiplegia, weakness of one side of the body that induces unbalanced posture, loss of proprioception, and abnormal muscle tone, thereby reducing balance ability. Due to balance instability, stroke patients develop an abnormal gait with a short weight support duration on the affected side, and differences between the strides of the normal side and affected side cause the gait speed to decrease, affecting physical ability and impairing independent daily activities.