Purpose: To perform a literature review evaluating the quality of current research on the influence of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) on gait in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Methods: A qualitative systematic review of intervention studies including the following words/phrases in the title/abstract: children with CP, AFO, gait and inferential statistical analysis, and outcomes related to gait. Databases searched included PubMed, Cochrane Library, PEDro, OTSeeker, Lilacs, and Scielo. Level of evidence was graded using the PEDro Scale.
Results: Two between-group and 18 within-group studies met the inclusion criteria indicating a low level of evidence. Between-group studies each scored 4 on the PEDro Scale, and 17 within-group studies scored 3 and 1 scored 2, indicating low quality. Standard terminology for AFOs was not used and only 6 studies described functional status using appropriate instruments.
Conclusions: Studies using high quality methods are still needed to support evidence-based decisions regarding the use of AFOs for this population.