Researchers conducted a study to determine if patients who sustained a lower-limb fracture and used a passive dynamic AFO (PD-AFO) with a specialized rehabilitation program differ from uninjured people. The treatment method was initially designed to treat military service members after complex battlefield injuries. According to the study’s authors, the results demonstrated that the injured service members, when compared to uninjured counterparts, ran with discernible differences in high-level mobility and demonstrated inferior function, but had no differences in running speed and biomechanics.
Ten male service members with unilateral lower-limb fractures who used a PD-AFO for running were compared with 15 uninjured male runners in the military. The primary study outcome variables were the running time-distance parameters and frontal and sagittal plane kinematics of the trunk and pelvis during running. The Four Square Step Test, Comprehensive High-level Activity Mobility Predictor scores, and Short Musculoskeletal Function Assessment scores were analyzed as secondary outcomes.
For the primary outcome, patients with a PD-AFO exhibited no differences compared with uninjured runners in median (range) running velocity, cadence, stride length, or sagittal plane parameters such as peak pelvic tilt, and trunk forward flexion. For the secondary outcomes, runners with a PD-AFO performed worse in Comprehensive High-level Activity Mobility Predictor performance testing than uninjured runners did.
The study, “Military Service Members with Major Lower Extremity Fractures Return to Running with a Passive-dynamic Ankle-foot Orthosis: Comparison with a Normative Population,” was published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research.