By Jordana Bieze Foster
Use of carbon-fiber ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) assists with propulsion in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) without compromising calf muscle integrity, according to research from the University of Montana in Missoula.
Investigators enrolled 15 patients with PAD and a history of intermittent claudication (mean age, 67 years) who were fitted with bilateral carbon-fiber AFOs and advised to wear them during daily activities. The researchers assessed gait mechanics while the patients walked at a self-selected speed with and without AFOs after one week of accommodation to the devices, and again after 12 weeks of use.
AFO use was associated with reduced peak ankle plantar flexion power during propulsion, which could help reduce intermittent claudication in patients with PAD, but—surprisingly—no change in calf muscle recruitment. In the 12 patients who completed both assessments, gait parameters after 12 weeks were similar to those seen at the initial testing session.
The findings were presented in early June at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting in Denver.
Mizner RL, Mays AA, Mays RJ. Mechanical adaptations in walking performance using ankle foot orthoses for patients with peripheral artery disease. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2017;49(5 Suppl 1):S441.