Background: Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) is one of the most prescribed orthoses for children with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy (CP), and there are numerous types for various purposes. The results of previous studies regarding the effects and positive effects of AFO on CP gait are unclear. The purpose of this study is to compare the gait parameters by the angle change of the AFO to investigate the effect of Dorsiflexion-Hinged AFO (DHAFO).
Methods: 10 subjects with spastic diplegic CP participated in this study. The spatial (cadence, step length, and stride length) and temporal (gait velocity, single- and double-limbs support time) gait parameters were obtained and compared by subjects with flexible equinus with bare feet, AFO, and DHAFO. This study, a cross-sectional study, measured a total of three times at two-day intervals and derived the average value.
Results: Spatial and temporal parameters measured under the three conditions showed significant differences (F=6.469~24.914, P=0.000~0.008, partial eta square=0.621~0.887). The gait with DHAFO showed significant differences in cadence and stride length compared to bare feet and AFO (P<0.05) in spatial parameters. In addition, DHAFO gait demonstrated significant differences in all temporal parameters compared to bare feet and AFO (P<0.05).
Conclusion: In this study, it was found that DHAFO was different from gait with bare feet and AFO on spatiotemporal parameters in children with spastic diplegic CP. Although the factors affecting gait ability are very diverse, DHAFO is considered to be one of the orthoses that can improve ambulatory function in CP with equinus.