BACKGROUND: The stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the world. One of the main complaints of individuals post-stroke refers to the loss of function of the upper limb, as evidenced during the performance of activities of daily living. This difficulty may be related to an important component of sensorimotor control, joint position sense, a submodality of proprioception.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether the proprioception of both shoulders of chronic hemiparetic patients is altered during abduction and flexion.
METHODS: Thirteen subjects with chronic hemiparesis due to ischemic stroke and 13 healthy subjects matched for gender and age was included. The joint sense position was assessed using a dynamometer. Absolute error for shoulder abduction and flexion at the 30 and 60° was calculated.
RESULTS: No difference was found between the paretic and non-paretic limbs in movements at both 30 and 60°. Higher values of absolute error for both paretic and non-paretic limbs compared to the control were observed during abduction at 30 and at 60°.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic ischemic post-stroke patients have bilateral proprioceptive deficits in the shoulder during abduction and flexion. But these deficits are dependent on the movement performed and the angle tested. The results demonstrate the need to include bilateral exercises and/or visual feedback in the rehabilitation program.