The effect of a modified elastic band orthosis on gait and balance in stroke survivors

Thitithunwarat, Nutkritta, Krityakiarana, Warin, Kheowsri, Suchittra, Jongkamonwiwat, Nopporn and Richards, James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4004-3115 (2023) The effect of a modified elastic band orthosis on gait and balance in stroke survivors. Prosthetics & Orthotics International, Publis . ISSN 0309-3646

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Introduction: Gait is crucial for independent living for stroke survivors and assistive devices have been developed to support gait performance. Ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) are commonly provided to stroke survivors to prevent foot drop during walking. However, previous studies have reported limitations of AFOs including them being too heavy, creating skin irritation, and being a stigma of disability. The purpose was to compare the gait and balance improvement between elastic band orthoses (EBOs) and AFOs.
Materials and Methods: The AFOs and EBOs were provided to 17 stroke survivors, and changes in gait and balance were assessed compared to barefoot (control). Gait spatiotemporal parameters were measured using the zebris-FDM-Rehawalk® system, and balance ability was evaluated using the timed up and go test (TUG). Satisfaction with the EBOs was determined using the Quebec user evaluation of satisfaction with assistive technology (QUEST2.0) questionnaire.
Results: The EBO showed significant differences in; gait speed, cadence, stride length, stride time, step length unaffected side, stance phase and swing phase on the affected side, and pre-swing on the unaffected side, and balance performance (TUG) (p<0.05) when compared to the AFO and control conditions. The participants were quite satisfied with the EBOs with QUEST2.0 scores greater than 4 out of 5.
Conclusions: EBOs could be provided to stroke survivors given their acceptability and properties to improve gait and balance. The EBO used in this study offered clinically important improvements in gait and balance when compare to AFO and control conditions, and could mitigate against some of the limitations reported in the use of AFOs in stroke survivors.

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