Use of a DAO could improve walking conditions for patients with multiple sclerosis

The dorsiflexion assist orthosis could reduce the physiological cost of walking while maintaining knee strength and balance in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to data recently published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Australian researchers conducted a randomized crossover trial to examine the effects of wearing a dorsiflexion assist orthosis (DAO) on walking distance, physiological cost, fatigue, strength and balance after a modified 6-minute walk test. They also examined effects with DAO worn on the weaker leg. Outcomes were compared between walking conditions.

Pre-walk and post-walk changes in knee extensor, ankle dorsiflexor isometric strength and standing postural sway with eyes open and closed were also compared.

In patients with moderate multiple sclerosis and expanded disability status, findings showed no differences in distance walked or perceived fatigue between conditions. Patients had reduced physiological cost of walking, smaller reduction in knee extensor strength and smaller increase in standing postural sway with eyes open after they walked wearing the DAO compared to when they walked without it.

For more information:

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

Disclosure: McLoughlin has no relevant financial disclosures.


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