Preliminary Evidence for Effectiveness of a Stance Control Orthosis

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Individuals with lower limb paresis or paralysis have traditionally had limited orthotic options to provide knee stability during walking. Recent developments have made available new “stance control” orthoses that provide stability in stance while allowing free knee motion during swing phase. The purpose of this study was to determine whether individuals with lower limb weakness walk more efficiently when using the Stance Control Orthotic Knee Joint (SCOKJ®) than when using a conventional knee-ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO) with the knee locked in extension. Data were collected on three male subjects with significant weakness in at least one lower limb. All subjects could walk independently, without walking aids, in the home and for short distances in the community. All three subjects exhibited increased speed and cadence, increased stride and step lengths, and fewer compensatory movements at the hip, pelvis, and trunk when walking with the SCOKJ®. Two subjects completed an obstacle course more quickly with the SCOKJ®. During 5 minutes of treadmill walking (comfortable speed), two subjects exhibited a lower heart rate response when wearing the SCOKJ®, suggesting lower energy requirements for walking with the SCOKJ®. In summary, the subjects used a more symmetric, more aesthetic walking pattern, maneuvered over and around obstacles more easily, and seemed to walk more efficiently when wearing the SCOKJ® than when wearing a KAFO with the knee locked in extension.

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