Stroke is the leading cause of disability in Canada with more than 400,000 Canadians living with long-term disorders due to stroke. Hence, whilst challenging, it is critical to restore mobility to these individuals such as independent walking; the most frequently stated goal of individuals post-stroke. However, achieving this goal is hindered by motor impairments, including muscle weakness and spasticity, yet we still do not understand how these impairments influence walking post-stroke. This lessens the efficacy of emerging innovative treatments such as the use of botulinum toxin or Botox to suppress spasticity and improve walking. Computer simulations are powerful tools to uncover how muscles coordinate movement and predict the functional gains following a personalised treatment plan.
This research aims to develop diagnostic tools that can be used in clinical practice to identify movement deficiencies during walking post-stroke and associate them with clinical measures of function and spasticity before and after an intervention. These tools will facilitate greater use of personalised therapies, one of the primary goals of stroke recovery in Canada, and ultimately give people with strokes the ability to walk independently.