Adebusola O Borode1, Taofeek O Awotidebe2, Adekola B Ademoyegun3, Adedayo O Borode1, Ibukun G Falokun4, Oluwatobi B Omisore4, Adepeju A Kolade4, Adekola J Odunlade2, Rufus A Adedoyin2

1University of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Rehabilitation, Department of Physiotherapy, Ondo, Nigeria
2Obafemi Awolowo University, College of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
3Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Department of Physiotherapy, Osogbo, Nigeria
4Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Keywords: Stroke, fall, walking, postural control, older adults


Objective: The influence of gait characteristics (GCs) and dynamic balance (DB) on fear of falling (FoF) among stroke survivors (SSs) remains unclear. This casecontrol study compared and correlated FoF, GC, and DB among SSs and apparently healthy controls (AHCs).

Materials and Methods: A total of 55 ambulant SSs and 110 age–sex-matched AHCs were recruited from two Nigerian hospitals. The FoF, GC (gait speed, cadence, stride length, and step length), and DB were assessed using the fall efficacy scale-international, accelerometer (BTS-G walk) and time-up and go test, respectively. Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient and an independent t-test were applied. The alpha level was set at P < 0.05.

Results: The majority of SSs (87%) had a high risk of falling while AHCs (94.5%) had a low risk of falling. Additionally, 23.6% of SSs and 17.3% of AHCs had had a fall 12 months preceding the study. The SSs had significantly lower gait speeds (0.8 ± 0.3 m/s vs. 1.2 ± 0.3 m/s; t: -8.286; P < 0.001), cadence (80.5 ± 25.3 steps/min vs. 110.1 ± 11.3 steps/min; t: -10.399; P < 0.001), and DB (26.9 ± 18.1 s vs. 9.0 ± 2.4 s; t: 10.240; P < 0.001) than AHCs. The FoF was negatively correlated with cadence (r: -0.340; P = 0.011) and gait speed (r: -0.383; P = 0.004), and positively correlated with DB (r: 0.700; P < 0.001), while gait speed was negatively correlated with DB (r: -0.645; P < 0.001) among SSs. A similar pattern of correlations was observed among AHCs.

Conclusion: SSs demonstrated a high FoF, poor DB with an increased risk of falling, and altered GC compared with AHCs. In addition, significant relationships were found among FoF, DB, and GC among SSs and AHCs.

Ethics Committee Approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethics and Research Committee of the OAUTHC, Ile-Ife, for this study (ERC/2020/02/03).

Peer Review

Externally and internally peer-reviewed.

Author Contributions

Surgical and Medical Practices: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., A.O.B., I.G.F., O.B.O., A.A.K., A.J.O., R.A.A., Concept: A.O.B., T.O.A., R.A.A., Design: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., Data Collection or Processing: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., A.O.B., I.G.F., O.B.O., A.A.K., Analysis or Interpretation: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., A.J.O., R.A.A., Literature Search: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., A.O.B., I.G.F., O.B.O., A.A.K., A.J.O., Writing: A.O.B., T.O.A., A.B.A., A.O.B., I.G.F., O.B.O., A.A.K., A.J.O., R.A.A.

Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study received no financial support.