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Prosthet Orthot Int. 2010 Jun;34(2):206-15. doi: 10.3109/03093641003773189.

The effect of stance control orthoses on gait characteristics and energy expenditure in knee-ankle-foot orthosis users.

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Department of Prosthetics and Orthotics, St Vincent's Hospital, Fitzroy, 3065 Australia.


Stance Control knee-ankle foot orthoses (SCO) differ from their traditional locked knee counterparts by allowing free knee flexion during swing while providing stability during stance. It is widely accepted that free knee flexion during swing normalizes gait and therefore improves walking speed and reduces the energy requirements of walking. Limited research has been carried out to evaluate the benefits of SCOs when compared to locked knee-ankle foot orthoses (KAFOs). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of SCOs used for patients with lower limb pathology. Energy expenditure and walking velocity were measured in 10 subjects using an orthosis incorporating a Horton Stance Control knee joint. A GAITRite walkway was used to measure temporospatial gait characteristics. A Cosmed K4b2 portable metabolic system was used to measure energy expenditure and heart rate during walking. Two conditions were tested: Walking with stance control active (stance control) and walking with the knee joint locked. Ten subjects completed the GAITRite testing; nine subjects completed the Cosmed testing. Walking velocity was significantly increased in the stance control condition (p < 0.001). There was no difference in the energy cost of walking (p = 0.515) or physiological cost index (PCI) (p = 0.093) between conditions. This study supports previous evidence that stance control knee-ankle foot orthoses increase walking velocity compared to locked knee devices. Contrary to expectation, the stance control condition did not decrease energy expenditure during walking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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