Quantitative Analysis Of Stroke Patients With Foot Drop
Post-stroke patients often experience less control and coordination of one of their legs, which could result in a condition known as foot drop. Foot drop is characterized by an inability to properly dorsiflex at the ankle and could lead to problems with foot clearance during gait and ultimately result in the person falling. It is assumed that the Allard Medical ToeOFF® ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is associated with shorter rehabilitation times and better rehabilitation outcomes than the standard fixed plastic AFO, but quantitative data is missing to prove this. We compared people who were prescribed the Allard Medical ToeOFF® AFO (n = 7) with the standard fixed plastic AFO (n = 3) for several different measures. The resulting data was analyzed for trends and the presence of statistically significant differences with the Wilcoxon Rank Sum test. Our statistical significance analysis was inconclusive, but we did identify a trend between the use of the Allard Medical ToeOFF® with greater increases of fractional change in the number of dorsiflexions before fatigue than with the use of the standard fixed plastic AFO. Also, the use of the standard fixed plastic AFO was associated with greater increases in fractional change of gait speed over the 6 week testing period than the use of the Allard Medical ToeOFF®. Further study with larger sample sizes is warranted and is expected to lead to more conclusive results about the presence of significant differences between the subjects using an Allard Medical ToeOFF® AFO and those using a standard fixed plastic AFO. These results could enable physicians in the future to make a more informed decision about which type of brace to prescribe for their patients.