An anterior ankle-foot orthosis improves walking economy in Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A patients
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Background: Ankle-foot orthoses are commonly prescribed in Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A disease to improve quality of walking and reduce the risk of falling due to the foot drop. Objectives: This study aimed at assessing the effect of an anterior ankle-foot orthosis on walking economy in a group of Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A patients. Study design: Within-group comparisons. Methods: 7 Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A patients (four women and three men; 37 ± 11 years; age range = 22–53 years) were asked to walk on a circuit at their self-selected speeds (‘slow’, ‘comfortable’ and ‘fast’) in two walking conditions: (1) with shoes only and (2) with Taloelast® anterior elastic ankle-foot orthoses. Speed of walking and metabolic cost of walking energy cost per unit of distance were assessed at the three self-selected speeds of walking for both walking conditions. Results: Speed of walking at the three self-selected speeds did not differ between shoes only and anterior elastic ankle-foot orthoses, whereas walking energy cost per unit of distance at comfortable speed was lower in patients using anterior elastic ankle-foot orthoses with respect to shoes only (2.39 ± 0.22 vs 2.70 ± 0.19 J kg−1 m−1; P < 0.05). Conclusions: In Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A patients, the use of anterior elastic ankle-foot orthoses improved walking economy by reducing the energy cost of walking per unit of distance, thus reflecting a lower level of metabolic effort and improved mechanical efficiency in comparison with shoes only. Clinical relevance: From a practical perspective, Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 1A patients with anterior elastic ankle-foot orthoses can walk for a longer duration with a lower level of physical effort. Improvements in walking economy due to ankle-foot orthoses are likely a consequence of the reduction in steppage gait.
Prosthetics and Orthotics International;
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