Characterization of stroke-related upper limb motor impairments across various upper limb activities by use of kinematic core set measures

Anne Schwarz*, Miguel M.C. Bhagubai, Saskia H.G. Nies, Jeremia P.O. Held, Peter H. Veltink, Jaap H. Buurke, Andreas R. Luft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Upper limb kinematic assessments provide quantifiable information on qualitative movement behavior and limitations after stroke. A comprehensive characterization of spatiotemporal kinematics of stroke subjects during upper limb daily living activities is lacking. Herein, kinematic expressions were investigated with respect to different movement types and impairment levels for the entire task as well as for motion subphases. Method: Chronic stroke subjects with upper limb movement impairments and healthy subjects performed a set of daily living activities including gesture and grasp movements. Kinematic measures of trunk displacement, shoulder flexion/extension, shoulder abduction/adduction, elbow flexion/extension, forearm pronation/supination, wrist flexion/extension, movement time, hand peak velocity, number of velocity peaks (NVP), and spectral arc length (SPARC) were extracted for the whole movement as well as the subphases of reaching distally and proximally. The effects of the factors gesture versus grasp movements, and the impairment level on the kinematics of the whole task were tested. Similarities considering the metrics expressions and relations were investigated for the subphases of reaching proximally and distally between tasks and subgroups. Results: Data of 26 stroke and 5 healthy subjects were included. Gesture and grasp movements were differently expressed across subjects. Gestures were performed with larger shoulder motions besides higher peak velocity. Grasp movements were expressed by larger trunk, forearm, and wrist motions. Trunk displacement, movement time, and NVP increased and shoulder flexion/extension decreased significantly with increased impairment level. Across tasks, phases of reaching distally were comparable in terms of trunk displacement, shoulder motions and peak velocity, while reaching proximally showed comparable expressions in trunk motions. Consistent metric relations during reaching distally were found between shoulder flexion/extension, elbow flexion/extension, peak velocity, and between movement time, NVP, and SPARC. Reaching proximally revealed reproducible correlations between forearm pronation/supination and wrist flexion/extension, movement time and NVP. Conclusion: Spatiotemporal differences between gestures versus grasp movements and between different impairment levels were confirmed. The consistencies of metric expressions during movement subphases across tasks can be useful for linking kinematic assessment standards and daily living measures in future research and performing task and study comparisons. Trial registration: Identifier NCT03135093. Registered 26 April 2017,

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Biomechanical phenomena
  • Kinematics
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity


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