F. Biancofiore, R. Forno, M. Provenzano, A. Chiarotto



Approximately 60 % of patients with consequences of Stroke presents deficits of sensitivity and deficits of the lower limb in particular are related  to a reduction in gait performance. A few studies have shown the effects of a lower limb sensory retraining, but their results are encouraging. However, no studies exist that evaluated the effects of footwear on lower limb sensitivity and on gait performance.


The purpose of this pilot study, conducted on 3 subjects with an outcome of cerebral hemorrhage in chronic phase, is to assess the effects of a sensory retraining program for the foot in relation to different footwear, analyzing the possible variations between traditional footwear and the Vibram Five Fingers.


The study was conducted in three phases of two months each: sensory retraining of the paretic foot with traditional footwear in the first; sensory retraining of the paretic foot with Vibram Five Fingers in the second; the same intervention of the first phase during the third phase. All subjects were receiving all three interventions.

The following outcome measures were used prior to each phase and at the end of the third phase: the Nottingham Sensory Assessment for sensitivity and the Two Minutes Walking Test.


For all 3 subjects there has been an improvement in tactile and kinesthetic sensitivity following the use of Vibram Five Fingers, together with an increase in the endurance parameter of gait. No direct effects on the speed of gait were found.


In light of these results, it would be useful to carry out a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of this therapeutic approach combined with the use of Vibram Five Fingers.


Stroke , sensory retraining , lower limb, gait.

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