Effect of ankle-foot orthoses on walking efficiency and gait in children with cerebral palsy.

Brehm MA, Harlaar J, Schwartz M

This study determined the effect of ankle-foot orthoses on walking efficiency and gait in a heterogeneous group of children with cerebral palsy, using barefoot walking as the control condition. The use of an ankle-foot orthosis resulted in a significant decrease in the energy cost of walking of quadriplegic children with cerebral palsy, compared with barefoot walking, whereas it remained unchanged in hemiplegic and diplegic children with cerebral palsy. Energy cost reduction was related to both a faster and more efficient walking pattern. The improvements in efficiency were reflected in changes of stance and swing phase knee motion, i.e. those children whose knee flexion angle improved toward the typical normal range demonstrated a decrease in energy cost of walking, and vice versa.

This study supports the use of ankle-foot orthoses for quadriplegic children with cerebral palsy.

Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2008, 40(7), 529-34

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