Indexed on: 18 Oct '12Published on: 18 Oct '12Published in: Clinical Biomechanics
A knee-ankle-foot orthosis may be prescribed for the prevention of genu recurvatum during the stance phase of gait. It allows also to limit abnormal plantarflexion during swing phase. The aim is to improve gait in hemiplegic patients and to prevent articular degeneration of the knee. However, the effects of knee-ankle-foot orthosis on both the paretic and non-paretic limbs during gait have not been evaluated. The aim of this study was to quantify biomechanical adaptations induced by wearing a knee-ankle-foot orthosis, on the paretic and non-paretic limbs of hemiplegic patients during gait.Eleven hemiplegic patients with genu recurvatum performed two gait analyses (without and with the knee-ankle-foot orthosis). Spatio-temporal, kinematic and kinetic gait parameters of both lower limbs were quantified using an instrumented gait analysis system during the stance and swing phases of the gait cycle.The knee-ankle-foot orthosis improved spatio-temporal gait parameters. During stance phase on the paretic side, knee hyperextension was reduced and ankle plantarflexion and hip flexion were increased. During swing phase, ankle dorsiflexion increased in the paretic limb and knee extension increased in the non-paretic limb. The paretic limb knee flexion moment also decreased.Wearing a knee-ankle-foot orthosis improved gait parameters in hemiplegic patients with genu recurvatum. It increased gait velocity, by improving cadence, stride length and non-paretic step length. These spatiotemporal adaptations seem mainly due to the decrease in knee hyperextension during stance phase and to the increase in paretic limb ankle dorsiflexion during both phases of the gait cycle.