Effect of an Ankle Foot Orthosis Intervention for Children With Non-Central Nervous System Cancers: A Pilot Study

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Abstract

Purpose:

Children with cancer are at risk for physical performance limitations. In this pilot study we investigated the feasibility and initial efficacy of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) in children with non–central nervous system cancer with peripheral weakness.

Methods:

Participants included children aged 5 to 11 years diagnosed with cancer. Children wore AFOs for 1 cycle of chemotherapy. Pre- and postintervention adverse events, adherence, gait, strength, range of motion, activity, and fatigue were measured.

Results:

Six of 7 children completed the study; none of the 7 reported adverse events. Positive trends were observed in step length (46.23-49.25 cm), dorsiflexion strength (19.25-24.50 lb), ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (0.5-8°), and activity (7850-9857 epochs). Negative trends observed included cadence and fatigue ratings. No change was observed in the 6-minute walk or parent-reported fatigue.

Conclusions:

An AFO intervention is feasible in children with cancer. Initial efficacy results warrant further study.

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