Wearable Gait Analysis Protocol to Help Clinicians Select Ankle-Foot Orthoses Configuration in Cerebral Palsy Patients

Wearable Gait Analysis Protocol
Image: Pixabay

Cerebral palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. It’s caused by damage that occurs to the immature brain as it develops, most often before birth. This is the most common cause of pediatric disabilities, particularly debilitating for daily activities. There are ankle-foot orthoses available as gait treatment. But selecting the most appropriate orthotic configuration is not easy. Researchers in Italy have now developed an assessment protocol based on wearable gait analysis to help clinicians in ankle-foot orthoses configuration selection.

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For their study, the researchers selected 10 children with spastic diplegic Cerebral Palsy. The children were aged 4 to 11 years.

The participants performed a 10 Meter Walk Test in three conditions: barefoot and wearing alternatively a polypropylene hinged and solid ankle-foot orthosis accommodated in the same off-the-shelf shoe model, after 20 days of daily use of each configuration. The researchers developed an instrumented assessment protocol based on body-mounted magneto-inertial sensors to measure spatio-temporal, gait stability and symmetry, reports Science Direct.

Child on a tricycle
Image: Marines

The researchers found that all the children benefited by the two orthoses. The ankle-foot orthoses were patient-specific and it helped different children with gait issues. “The proposed instrumented protocol represents a quantitative and useful tool to support the clinical selection of an appropriate orthotic treatment and, potentially, in evaluating its effectiveness,” the wrote.

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The research team comprised of researchers from Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù; Interuniversity Centre of Bioengineering of the Human Neuromusculoskeletal System, University of Rome “Foro Italico”; and ITOP SpA Officine Ortopediche, Palestrina – all in Rome, Italy.

The study was published in the journal Science Direct.