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.