January 2012

AFO offloading findings could affect tibial stress fracture management

In the moment: Sports medicine

DJO Global Bone Healing - CMFA corset-style ankle foot orthosis is more effective than a controlled ankle motion walker for offloading the distal lower extremity, according to pilot data from Colorado investigators that could have implications for management of tibial stress fractures in athletes.

Researchers from the University of Colorado, Denver, analyzed five individuals with healed lower extremity injuries who still had the custom corset-style AFO used for treatment, and five healthy volunteers with no injury history. The previously injured participants were analyzed while wearing the corset-style AFO and a pneumatic CAM walker; the control subjects were analyzed in CAM walkers alone.

Preliminary data presented in November at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation indicate that the corset-style AFO provides 20% offloading during gait while the CAM walker provides 2% offloading, based on the discrepancy between force measured by an insole and force measured by a force platform.

Continuation of the study will include analysis of five previously injured individuals wearing the patellar tendon bearing orthoses with which they were treated.

Source: Shoemaker E, Davidson B, Christian­sen C, Saint-Phard D. Biomechanical as­sess-ment of unloading capacity in ankle foot orthoses PMR;3(10):Abstract 189: S236.

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