Optimization of reciprocating gait orthoses to maximize function should involve attention to hip flexion-extension ratios, which differ significantly between locked and free joint conditions, according to research from Taiwan presented in March at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists.
Reciprocating gait orthoses typically are locked at the knee and ankle joints. To better understand how this affects HFER relative to that of normal gait, researchers from National Taiwan University analyzed HFER in nine healthy volunteers while walking freely and while constrained by orthotic devices fixed at the ankle and knee.
HFER was significantly higher for the fixed condition than the free condition, regardless of walking speed, which may be related to the longer double limb support times seen in the fixed condition, according to Liang-Wey Chang, PhD, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at NTU, who presented the results at the AAOP meeting. HFER also trended downward as speed increased for both joint conditions, again likely related to longer double limb support times seen at slower speeds.