Purpose: The aim of this review was to compare the effects of rigid and articulated ankle-foot orthoses on gait in children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Method: A systematic review was carried out in 4 databases. The papers identified were evaluated on the basis of the following inclusion criteria: (1) design—controlled clinical trial; (2) population—children and adolescents with CP; (3) intervention—rigid or articulated ankle-foot orthoses; and (4) outcome—improved motor function and gait performance.
Results: Seven controlled studies comparing the effects of different ankle-foot orthoses were found. Studies achieved PEDro scores of 3 and 4 for methodological quality.
Conclusion: There is evidence supporting the use of an articulated ankle-foot orthosis by children with CP, because of the improved function this type of orthosis provides. However, other studies point out the advantages of a rigid orthosis for children with greater impairment related to spasticity and contractures.