Effects of AFO Use on Walking in Boys With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

While bracing in the late ambulatory stage of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has been described, the effects of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) in earlier stages have not been examined. The goal of this pilot study was to describe the effects of dynamic response AFO (DR-AFO) use in boys with DMD who are ambulatory. Using a crossover design, 3 boys were assigned at random to either a 2-week DR-AFO or a placebo intervention. Phases were separated by a 1-week washout period. Primary outcomes were time to walk 10 m and a 6-Minute Walk Test. With DR-AFO use, declines in 10-m walk time (median decline = 0.8 s) and 6-Minute Walk Distance (median = 25.0 m) occurred. Parental report indicated that the use of DR-AFOs increased falls in 2 of 3 participants.

This pilot study did not support the use of DR-AFOs by ambulatory boys with DMD.