Mechanical tuning of an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) is important in improving gait in individuals post-stroke. Alignment and resistance are two factors that are tunable in articulated AFOs. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of changing AFO ankle alignment on lower limb joint kinematics and kinetics with constant dorsiflexion and plantarflexion resistance in individuals post-stroke. Gait analysis was performed on 10 individuals post-stroke under four distinct alignment conditions using an articulated AFO with an ankle joint whose alignment is adjustable in the sagittal plane. Kinematic and kinetic data of lower limb joints were recorded using a Vicon 3-dimensional motion capture system and Bertec split-belt instrumented treadmill. The incremental changes in the alignment of the articulated AFO toward dorsiflexion angles significantly affected ankle and knee joint angles and knee joint moments while walking in individuals post-stroke. No significant differences were found in the hip joint parameters. The alignment of the articulated AFO was suggested to play an important role in improving knee joint kinematics and kinetics in stance through improvement of ankle joint kinematics while walking in individuals post-stroke. Future studies should investigate long-term effects of AFO alignment on gait in the community in individuals post-stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering