Orthotic devices boost balance over time in children with CP

Balance improves over time in children with cerebral palsy, CP, who switch from a dorsiflexion-free orthotic device to a more restrictive one, according to research from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Matar’s Story: A Born Fighter. Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

By Jordana Bieze Foster, Lower Extremity Review March 2015

Investigators analyzed five children with CP who regularly wore either supramalleolar orthoses, SMOs or articulated ankle foot orthoses, AFOs, as they walked in each of two more-restrictive AFOs. The children had four weeks to accommodate to each new AFO.

The researchers found that switching devices had mixed effects with regard to step activity, walking endurance, patient satisfaction, and lifestyle participation—which may indicate that a longer transition time is warranted, according to Stefania Fatone PhD BPO (Hons), an associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the university, who presented the findings at the AAOP meeting in New Orleans.

But restricted motion was associated with improved balance over time in all patients, regardless of the specific device worn. This may mean that the improved stability provided by the orthotic devices facilitated strengthening of the more proximal muscles, although the study did not measure strength, Fatone said.

Source Lower Extremity Review

Effect of two orthotic approaches on activity level, balance, and satisfaction in children with cerebral palsy, Stefania Fatone PhD, Donald McGovern CPO FAAOP, Theresa Clancy PT, Deborah Gaebler-Spira MD, Petra Conaway PT. American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, AAOP Annual Meeting and Scientific Sympo­sium, New Orleans February 2015.

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