Systematic review of high-level mobility training in people with a neurological impairment

Tanja Spencer, Sara Aldous, Gavin Williams, Michael Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The objective of this paper was to systematically review the efficacy of interventions targeting high-level mobility skills in people with a neurological impairment. Methods: A comprehensive electronic database search was conducted. Study designs were graded using the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) system and methodological quality was described using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. Results: Twelve exploratory studies (AACPDM levels IV/V), of limited methodological quality (PEDro scores of 2–3 out of 10), were included. Interventions included treadmill training, a three-phase programme, a high-level mobility group, plyometric training, running technique coaching and walk training with blood flow restriction. Diagnoses included acquired brain injury, cerebral palsy, incomplete spinal cord injury and neurofibromatosis type 1. There were difficulties generalizing results from exploratory designs with a broad range of participants, interventions and outcome measures. However, it seems that people with a neurological impairment have the capacity to improve high-level mobility skills, running speed and distance with intervention. There were no adverse events that limited participation. Conclusion: There is preliminary evidence to support the efficacy of interventions to improve high-level mobility skills in people with neurological impairments. Well-controlled research with a larger sample is required to provide sufficient evidence to change clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-415
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2018


  • motor skills
  • neurological disorder
  • physiotherapy
  • rehabilitation
  • Running

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