Author(s): Irby SE, Bernhardt KA, Kaufman KR
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Abstract Individuals with weak or absent quadriceps who wish to walk independently are prescribed knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs). New stance control orthosis (SCO) designs automatically release the knee to allow swing phase flexion and extension while still locking the joint during stance. Twenty-one participants were fitted unilaterally with the Dynamic Knee Brace System (DKBS), a non-commercial SCO. Thirteen subjects were experienced KAFO users (average 28 +/- 18 years of experience) while eight were novice users. Novice users demonstrated increased velocity (55 vs. 71 cm/sec, p = 0.048) and cadence (77 vs. 85 steps/min, p < 0.05) when using the DKBS over the traditional locked KAFO. Experienced KAFO users tended to have reduced velocity and cadence measures when using the SCO (p < 0.10). Knee range of motion was significantly greater for the novice group than for the experienced group (55.2 +/- 4.8 vs. 42.6 +/- 3.8 degrees, p = 0.05). Peak knee extension moments tended to be greater for the experienced group (0.29 +/- 0.21 vs. 0.087 +/- 0.047 Nm/kg, p = 0.09). This report describes gait changes during the introductory phase of DKBS adoption. Experienced KAFO users undoubtedly had ingrained gait patterns designed to compensate for walking with a standard locked KAFO. These patterns may have limited the ability of those users from taking full and immediate advantage of the SCO capabilities. Also, alternate SCO systems may engender different results. Comparison studies and longer term field studies are needed to clarify benefits of the various bracing options.
This article was published in Prosthet Orthot Int
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief