Understanding the mechanical properties of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) is important to maximize their benefit for those with movement disorders during gait. Though mechanical properties such as stiffness and/or energy efficiency of AFOs have been extensively studied, it remains unknown how and to what extent shoes influence their properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of shoes on stiffness and energy efficiency of an AFO using a custom mechanical testing device. Stiffness and energy efficiency of the AFO were measured in the plantar flexion and dorsiflexion range, respectively, under AFO-alone and AFO-Shoe combination conditions. The results of this study demonstrated that the stiffness of the AFO-Shoe combination was significantly decreased compared to the AFO-alone condition, but no significant differences were found in energy efficiency. From the results, we recommend that shoes used with AFOs should be carefully selected not only based on their effect on alignment of the lower limb, but also their effects on overall mechanical properties of the AFO-Shoe combination. Further study is needed to clarify the effects of differences in shoe designs on AFO-Shoe combination mechanical properties.
- Ankle foot orthoses
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine