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Gait Posture. 2012 Jul;36(3):500-5. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

Walking ability of children with a hexapod external ring fixator (TSF®) and foot plate mounting at the lower leg.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Orthopedics, Deformity Correction and Foot Surgery, Münster University Hospital, Münster, Germany. frank.schiedel@uni-muenster.de

Abstract

Wearing an external fixator for several months can be expected to profoundly affect the ability to walk, but, in principle, full weight-bearing is possible during corrective procedures with the Taylor Spatial Frame (TSF). The present prospective cohort study was conducted to assess whether patients are able to walk with or without crutches during treatment with a TSF on the lower leg. Twenty-four patients (10 girls, 14 boys; average age 11 years, range 6-17) scheduled for fixator surgery with osteotomies in the lower leg and foot mounting were included. Dynamic foot loading during free walking was measured with plantar pressure measurements. The contact area, contact time and contact pressure on the foot plate were recorded and normalized to body weight. In the first postoperative week, all patients needed crutches and 67% showed partial weight-bearing. At the second measurement, about 6 weeks after surgery, 21% of the patients could walk without crutches and 58% were partially weight-bearing with crutches. On the day before fixator removal, 50% of the patients were fully weight-bearing without crutches and 38% were partially weight-bearing, but 12% could not bear any weight or were unable to walk. When a ring fixator is used to correct lower leg deformity and prevent equinus, there is minimal risk of complete dependence and abasia. This study shows that up to 88% of the pediatric patients are able to walk while wearing the fixator. Already a few days after surgery, two-thirds of the patients were partially weight-bearing with crutches, and only 12% needed a wheelchair and were not able to walk with the fixator.

PMID:
22682788
DOI:
10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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