How does a systematic tuning protocol for ankle foot orthosis–footwear combinations affect gait in children in cerebral palsy?

Laura M. Oudenhoven*, Yvette L. Kerkum, Annemieke I. Buizer, Marjolein M. van der Krogt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the effects of a systematic tuning protocol for ankle foot orthosis footwear combinations (AFO-FC) using incrementing heel height on gait in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: Eighteen children with CP (10.8 ± 3 years, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) I–II) underwent 3D gait analysis on a treadmill, while the AFO heel surface was systematically incremented with wedges. Children were subdivided based on their gait pattern, i.e., knee hyperextension (EXT) and excessive knee flexion (FLEX). Outcome measures included sagittal hip and knee angles and moments, shank to vertical angle (SVA), foot to horizontal angle, and gait profile score (GPS). Results: For both groups, incrementing heel height resulted in increased knee flexion, more inclined SVA, and increased knee extension moments. This resulted in gait improvements for some children of the EXT-group, but not in FLEX. High variation was found between individuals and within-subject effects were not always consistent for kinematic and kinetics. Conclusions: A systematic AFO-FC tuning protocol using incremented heel height can be effective to improve gait in children with CP walking with EXT. The current results emphasise the importance of including kinematics as well as kinetics of multiple instances throughout the gait cycle for reliable interpretation of the effect of AFO tuning on gait.Implications for rehabilitation A systematic ankle foot orthosis footwear combinations (AFO-FC) tuning protocol using incremented heel height can improve gait in children walking with knee hyperextension. Tuning results in changes throughout the gait cycle. Little evidence is found for an optimal SVA of 10–12° at midstance. For clinical interpretation, both joint kinematic and kinetic parameters should be considered throughout the gait cycle and evaluation should not be based on SVA only.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2021

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