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Functional Effect of an Ankle Foot Orthosis on Gait in Multiple Sclerosis: A Pilot Study

Sheffler, Lynne R. MD; Hennessey, Maureen T. PT; Knutson, Jayme S. PhD; Naples, Gregory G. MS; Chae, John MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: January 2008 - Volume 87 - Issue 1 - p 26-32
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31815b5325
Original Research Articles: Orthotics
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Sheffler LR, Hennessey MT, Knutson JS, Naples GG, Chae J: Functional effect of an ankle foot orthosis on gait in multiple sclerosis: a pilot study. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2008;87:26–32.

Objective: The objective was to determine whether an ankle foot orthosis improves gait velocity and tasks of functional ambulation in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Design: This cross-sectional study enrolled 15 participants with diagnosis of MS, dorsiflexion and eversion weakness, and more than 3 mos of using a physician-prescribed ankle foot orthosis (AFO). Subject ambulation was evaluated (1) without an AFO and (2) with an AFO. Outcome measures were the Timed 25-Foot (T25-FW) Walk portion of the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) and the five trials (Floor, Carpet, Up and Go, Obstacles, Stairs) of the Modified Emory Functional Ambulation Profile (mEFAP).

Results: The mean timed differences on the T25-FW and the five components of the mEFAP between the AFO vs. no device trials were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: In MS subjects with dorsiflexion and eversion weakness, no statistically significant improvement was found performing timed tasks of functional ambulation with an AFO.

From the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (LRS, GGN, JC) and Biomedical Engineering (JSK, JC), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio (LRS, MTH, JC).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Lynne R. Sheffler, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109.

The Ohio Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation Partnership, Ohio Board of Regents, Biomedical Technology Transfer Award provided support for this project.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.