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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2014, Article ID 301469, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Two Different Ankle-Foot Orthoses on Gait of Patients with Acute Hemiparetic Cerebrovascular Accident

1Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, 26W171 Roosevelt Road, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA
2Scheck & Siress, 1551 Bond Street, Naperville, IL 60563, USA
3Department of Physical Therapy (MC 898), University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 5 March 2014; Accepted 27 August 2014; Published 9 September 2014

Academic Editor: Jeffrey Jutai

Copyright © 2014 Noel Rao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To compare the effects of two types of ankle-foot orthoses on gait of patients with cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and to evaluate their preference in using each AFO type. Design. Thirty individuals with acute hemiparetic CVA were tested without an AFO, with an off-the-shelf carbon AFO (C-AFO), and with a custom plastic AFO (P-AFO) in random order at the time of initial orthotic fitting. Gait velocity, cadence, stride length, and step length were collected using an electronic walkway and the subjects were surveyed about their perceptions of each device. Results. Subjects walked significantly faster, with a higher cadence, longer stride, and step lengths, when using either the P-AFO or the C-AFO as compared to no AFO (). No significant difference was observed between gait parameters of the two AFOs. However, the subjects demonstrated a statistically significant preference of using P-AFO in relation to their balance, confidence, and sense of safety during ambulation (). Moreover, if they had a choice, % of the participants preferred the P-AFO and % preferred the C-AFO. Conclusions. AFO use significantly improved gait in patients with acute CVA. The majority of users preferred the P-AFO over the Cf-AFO especially when asked about balance and sense of safety.