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Effectiveness of elastic band-type ankle–foot orthoses on postural control in poststroke elderly patients as determined using combined measurement of the stability index and body weight-bearing ratio

Authors Kim JH, Sim WS, Won BH

Received 22 July 2015

Accepted for publication 4 October 2015

Published 13 November 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 1839—1847

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S92888

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Chang-Yong Ko

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Jong Hyun Kim, Woo Sang Sim, Byeong Hee Won

Usability Evaluation Technology Center, Advanced Biomedical and Welfare R&D Group, Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

Purpose: Poor recovery of postural stability poststroke is the primary cause of impairment in activities and social participation in elderly stroke survivors. The purpose of our study was to experimentally evaluate the effectiveness of our new elastic ankle–foot orthosis (AFO), compared to a traditional AFO fabricated with hard plastic, in improving postural stability in elderly chronic stroke survivors.
Patients and methods: Postural stability was evaluated in ten chronic stroke patients, 55.7±8.43 years old. Postural stability was evaluated using the standardized methods of the Biodex Balance System combined with a foot pressure system, under three experimental conditions, no AFO, rigid plastic AFO, and elastic AFO (E-AFO). The following dependent variables of postural stability were analyzed: plantar pressure under the paretic and nonparetic foot, area of the center of balance (COB) and % time spent in each location, distance traveled by the COB away from the body center, distance traveled by the center of pressure, and calculated index of overall stability, as well as indices anterior–posterior and medial–lateral stability.
Results: Both AFO designs improved all indices of postural stability. Compared to the rigid plastic AFO, the E-AFO produced additional positive effects in controlling anterior–posterior body sway, equalizing weight bearing through the paretic and nonparetic limbs, and restraining the displacement of the center of pressure and of the COB.
Conclusion: Based on our outcomes, we recommend the prescription of E-AFOs as part of a physiotherapy rehabilitation program to promote recovery of postural stability poststroke. When possible, therapeutic outcomes should be documented using the Biodex Balance System and foot pressure system, as used in our study, to provide evidence needed to support the development of a larger controlled trial to generate high-quality evidence on the effectiveness of E-AFOs.

Keywords: ankle-foot orthoses, usability test, hemiplegia, Biodex Balance System, postural stability test

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