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Physiother Res Int. 2012 Dec;17(4):191-9. doi: 10.1002/pri.531. Epub 2012 Jan 9.

Comparing gait performance of people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease who do and do not wear ankle foot orthoses.

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School of Rehabilitation Sciences, St George's University of London and Kingston University, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.



Ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) are commonly prescribed for people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Scant evidence exists to guide the type and timing of orthotic prescription. This study explores the latter issue by investigating the differences in presentation and gait function of people with CMT disease who wore AFOs for daily mobility (n = 11) and a group who did not (n = 21). The aim was to see if there was a difference in the characteristics in people who regularly wear AFOs.


Primary measures of gait function were a 10-m timed walk (comfortable and maximum speed) and a 6-minute walk test. Means of the variables were compared using independent t-tests. Secondary measures included disease severity, lower limb muscle strength, sensory impairment, walking effort, fatigue severity and perceived walking ability.


AFO wearers walked slower with higher effort. They also had greater disease severity, weaker leg muscles and perceived greater walking difficulty. Subjects not wearing AFOs showed significant relationships between gait variables and muscle strength, whereas AFO wearers showed significant relationships between gait variables and perceived walking ability, fatigue severity and effort.


People who regularly wore AFOs were more severely affected, had a slower maximum walking speed, higher energy cost of walking and worse perceived walking ability. Walking ability in this group was related to fatigue, perceived exertion during walking and perceived walking ability. Gait function of people not using AFOs was determined by lower limb muscle function. People prescribed AFOs, those who do not wear them and those not prescribed AFOs were similar in presentation, suggesting that people choose to wear orthoses when their condition becomes sufficiently severe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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