DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION, no.33, pp.2605-2611, 2011 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded)
Purpose. To investigate the effects of dynamic ankle-foot orthoses (DAFOs) on functional ambulation activities, weight bearing and spatio-temporal characteristics of hemiparetic gait and to inquire whether wearing a DAFO for 3 months has a carryover effect.
Method. Fourteen chronic hemiparetic patients who could walk independently with or without a cane were the subjects of the study. Patients were assessed initially with tennis shoes and were given custom fabricated DAFOs which they wore for three months and were retested under two conditions: with tennis shoes only and with DAFOs worn in these shoes. All patients were assessed for weight bearing percentage of the affected side, cadence, step length of the involved and uninvolved sides, step width, functional reach, timed up and go, timed down stairs, timed up stairs, physiologic cost index and velocity.
Results. Comparison of initial and third month assessments with shoes only condition showed that there was no significant improvement for the measured parameters. When comparison was made at the third month while patients were wearing tennis shoes only and when they were wearing DAFO's in their shoes there was a significant difference in favour of the condition where patients were wearing DAFOs.
Conclusion. The benefits of using DAFOs in chronic hemiparetic patients are lost when the patients are not wearing their orthoses.