Stroke is a major cause of disability worldwide. Upper extremity (UE) impairments such as abnormal muscle tone or abnormal recruitment are extensively seen following the incident. The changes in the muscle tone, strength and recruitment pattern may lead to altered biomechanical properties in the UE. Thus, the functions and kinematic features of UE movements may also change. As a result of these changes, abnormal motor performance of UE may be obversed in patients with stroke. Therefore, the knowledge about healthy and abnormal biomechanical properties in addition to the knowledge on differentiated kinematic characteristics after stroke are extremely important in clinical evaluation and decision-making. In this article, we reviewed the current evidences of literature about the changes in biomechanical, kinematic and functional properties in the UE and related assessment methods after stroke. It was our primary purpose to underline key points during clinical assessment to guide researchers and clinicians. In conclusion, it was seen that none of the outcome measures in the literature were able to assess the entire aspects of the impairment because of their variable focal points and qualitative or quantitative structure. Therefore, it is suggested by the authors to include more than one outcome measurement with various aspects in order to evaluate the every components of UE impairment. Through this way, more accurate planning for rehabilitation approaches may be achievable.
Keywords: Stroke; kinematics; upper extremity; assessment