Dorsiflexion assist orthosis reduces the physiological cost and mitigates deterioration in strength and balance associated with walking in people with Multiple Sclerosis.

James McLoughlin, Stephen Lord, Christopher Barr, Maria Crotty, Daina Sturnieks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective To evaluate the effect of wearing a dorsiflexion assist orthosis (DAO) on walking distance, physiological cost, fatigue, and strength and balance measures after a modified 6-minute walk test (6MWT) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Design Randomized crossover trial. Setting Hospital Movement Laboratory. Participants People with moderate MS and Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 3.7±0.7 (N=34; 26 women). Interventions Modified 6MWT with and without a DAO worn on the weaker leg. Main Outcome Measures Distance walked, perceived fatigue, and the physiological cost of walking were compared between walking conditions. Pre- and postwalk changes in knee extensor and ankle dorsiflexor isometric strength and standing postural sway with eyes open and closed were compared between walking conditions. Results There were no differences in distance walked or perceived fatigue between the 2 walking conditions. However, there was a reduced physiological cost of walking (P<.05), a smaller reduction in knee extensor strength (P<.05), and a smaller increase in standing postural sway with eyes open (P<.01) after walking while wearing the DAO compared with walking without wearing the DAO. Conclusions Despite not increasing walking distance or reducing perceived fatigue, the DAO reduced the physiological cost of walking and maintained knee strength and standing balance, which may have important implications for physical rehabilitation in people with MS. Further trials are required to determine whether the beneficial effects of wearing a DAO found here are maintained for longer periods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)226-232.e1
    Number of pages7
    JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Volume96
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

    Keywords

    • Fatigue
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Muscle strength
    • Orthotic devices
    • Postural balance
    • Rehabilitation

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