Active video-gaming effects on balance and mobility in individuals with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Stacy Fritz, Denise Peters, Angela Merlo, Jonathan Donley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Background: Treatments that provide feedback, increase practice with multiple repetitions, and motivate patients are essential to rehabilitation post stroke. Objective: To determine whether playing active video games results in improved balance and mobility post stroke. Methods: Thirty participants with chronic (time since stroke = 3.0 [2.9] years) hemiparesis post stroke were randomly assigned to a gaming group or normal activity control group. Gaming systems provided participants with an interactive interface of real-time movement of either themselves or an avatar on the screen. Participants played games 50-60 minutes/day, 4 days/week, for 5 weeks. The intervention was strictly game-play, in standing position, without physical therapy. The control group received no special intervention and continued with normal activity. Both groups were tested prior to, following the 5 weeks (post test), and 3 months following the completion of the study. Outcome measures included the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Berg Balance Scale, Dynamic Gait Index, Timed Up & Go, 6-minute walk test, 3-meter walk (self-selected and fast), and perception of recovery. Results: No statistically significant differences between or within groups were found through analysis of covariance (covaried for side of hemiparesis) at post test or follow-up. Although the within-group effect sizes were primarily indexed as "small" (< .36), the gaming group exhibited higher within-group effect sizes before and after testing than did the control group on all 7 dependent variables analyzed. Conclusions: Even though the only intervention was game-play, there were small positive effects. Therapist assistance in making more optimum movement choices may be needed before significant improvements are seen with commercially available, general purpose games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • balance
  • gaming
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Active video-gaming effects on balance and mobility in individuals with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this