Question: Is biofeedback during the practice of lower limb activities after stroke more effective than usual therapy in improving those activities, and are any benefits maintained beyond the intervention? Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised trials with a PEDro score > 4. Participants: People who have had a stroke. Intervention: Biofeedback (any type delivered by any signal or sense) delivered concurrently during practice of sitting, standing up, standing or walking compared with the same amount of practice without biofeedback. Outcome measures: Measures of activity congruent with the activity trained. Results: Eighteen trials including 429 participants met the inclusion criteria. The quality of the included trials was moderately high, with a mean PEDro score of 6.2 out of 10. The pooled effect size was calculated as a standardised mean difference (SMD) because different outcome measures were used. Biofeedback improved performance of activities more than usual therapy (SMD 0.50, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.70). Conclusion: Biofeedback is more effective than usual therapy in improving performance of activities. Further research is required to determine the long-term effect on learning. Given that many biofeedback machines are relatively inexpensive, biofeedback could be utilised widely in clinical practice. [Stanton R, Ada L, Dean CM, Preston E (2016) Biofeedback improves performance in lower limb activities more than usual therapy in people following stroke: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy 63: 11–16]
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- physical therapy
- systematic review