alexa Effect of AFO design on walking after stroke: impact of ankle plantar flexion contracture.
Physicaltherapy & Rehabilitation

Physicaltherapy & Rehabilitation

International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Author(s): Mulroy SJ, Weiss W, Newsam CJ, Eberly VJ, Gronely JK

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This study was conducted to compare the effects of three ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) designs on walking after stroke and determine whether an ankle plantar flexion contracture impacts response to the AFOs. A total of 30 individuals, ranging from 6-215 months post-stroke, were tested in four conditions: shoes only (SH), dorsi-assist/dorsi-stop AFO (DA-DS), plantar stop/free dorsiflexion AFO (PS), and rigid AFO (Rigid). Kinematics, kinetics, and electromyographic (EMG) activity were recorded from the hemiparetic lower extremity while participants walked at a self-selected pace. Gait parameters were compared between conditions and between participants with and without a moderate ankle plantar flexion contracture. All AFOs increased ankle dorsiflexion in swing and early stance. Anterior tibialis EMG was reduced only in the PS AFO. Both PS and Rigid AFOs restricted ankle plantar flexion and increased knee flexion in loading. Peak ankle dorsiflexion in stance and soleus EMG intensity were greatest in the PS AFO. The Rigid AFO tended to restrict dorsiflexion in stance and knee flexion in swing only in participants without a plantar flexion contracture. Individuals without a contracture benefit from an AFO that permits dorsiflexion mobility in stance and those with quadriceps weakness may more easily tolerate an AFO with plantar flexion mobility in loading.

This article was published in Prosthet Orthot Int. and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

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