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Prosthet Orthot Int. 2009 Sep;33(3):192-7. doi: 10.1080/03093640903055254.

A new ankle foot orthosis for running.

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Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


Traumatic knee injuries in automobile accidents and sports often lead to damage of the peroneal nerve. A lack of control of muscles innervated by the peroneal nerve due to this damage, results in the inability to dorsiflex and evert the foot and to extend the toes. This condition is commonly known as foot drop. Foot drop reduces the stability in the body while walking and running and may also cause injury due to lack of foot clearance during the swing phase of the gait. Traditionally, an ankle foot orthosis (AFO), comprised of a moulded sheet of plastic that conforms around the posterior calf and distally contains all or part of the calcaneous as well as the plantar foot, is used to treat foot drop. The intent of this orthosis is to dorsiflex the foot to provide clearance during the swing phase of walking and running. Traditional AFO results in increased pressures due to a decrease in dorsiflexion range of motion at the ankle and make the orthosis increasingly uncomfortable to wear. Several other existing designs of foot drop AFO suffer from similar inadequacies. To address these issues, a new AFO was developed. The device was successfully used by one person with foot drop without issues for more than one year. This new design conforms to the lower anterior shin and dorsum of the foot using dorsiassist Tamarack ankle joints to allow for greater plantar and dorsiflexion range of motion. While still limiting ankle inversion it does allow for more ankle eversion. This orthosis can be discretely worn inside shoes due to its smaller size, and can be worn for a longer period of time without discomfort.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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