Author(s): Bregman DJ, De Groot V, Van Diggele P, Meulman H, Houdijk H,
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Abstract The aim of this study was to assess the functional effects and mechanical contribution of Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO) prescribed to overcome drop-foot gait. We hypothesized that poor functional effects of the AFO relate to insufficient mechanical contribution of the AFO during the swing phase, or unwanted constraining of the ankle during the stance phase. In seven patients with Stroke or Multiple Sclerosis, we determined changes in energy cost of walking resulting from wearing an AFO, as a measure of the functional effects. In addition, an instrumented gait analysis was performed, and the mechanical AFO properties were measured, to calculate the mechanical contribution of the AFO. The AFO was sufficiently stiff to effectively support the foot in swing, without hampering the ankle during stance. For the whole group, there was a significant improvement in walking speed and energy cost (12\%). However, the AFO had no functional benefit in terms of a reduced energy cost of walking for three patients, who coherently demonstrated no pathological plantar flexion during swing without their AFO. We conclude that functional benefit from the AFO was only found when the mechanical AFO characteristics met the need to support the patients' mechanical deficiencies.
This article was published in Prosthet Orthot Int
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics