Use of dorsiflexion assist orthosis reduces deterioration of strength, balance for multiple sclerosis patients

Patients with moderate multiple sclerosis had a reduction in physiological cost and a decrease in the deterioration of strength and balance when using dorsiflexion assist orthoses, according to results of a study published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

The study of 34 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) included a 6-minute walk test in which researchers measured distance walked, perceived fatigue and physiological cost with and without a dorsiflexion assist orthosis (DAO). Pre-walk and post-walk changes were compared in knee extensor and ankle dorsiflexor isometric strength, as well as standing postural sway with eyes open and closed.

The results showed a reduced physiological cost of walking, a smaller reduction in knee extensor strength and a smaller increase in standing postural sway with eyes open after walking while wearing the DAO compared with no DAO. There was no difference in distance walked or perceived fatigue between the two walking conditions.

The researchers believe the results may have important implications for physical rehabilitation in people with MS, according to the study. Further trials will determine whether the effects of wearing a DAO can be maintained for longer periods of time.


McLoughlin J. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014; doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2014.09.005.

Disclosure: See the full study for all authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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