The results of a study conducted by researchers with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab indicated that a microprocessor swing and stance controlled knee-ankle-foot orthosis (MPO) may contribute to improved quality of life and health status of people with lower-limb impairments by improving walking speed, endurance, and functional balance, when compared to an SCO and KAFO. Participants reported fewer falls when wearing the MPO (5) versus an SCO (38) or locked KAFO (15).
The study was conducted at an ambulatory research lab and in the home and community for community-dwelling adults. The 18 participants actively used unilateral KAFOs or SCOs for impairments due to neurological or neuromuscular disease, orthopedic disease, or trauma; they were trained to acclimate and use the SCO and MPO for the study’s one-month use period.
Significant changes were observed in participants’ self-selected gait speed, Berg Balance Scale, Functional Gait Assessment, and Stair Assessment Index between baseline and post-MPO assessment. Similar significant differences were seen when comparing post-MPO with post-SCO data.
During the six-minute walk test, the participants using the MPO walked significantly longer than when using their baseline device. Participants reported higher quality of life scores in the Orthotic and Prosthetic User’s Survey and physical health domain of the World Health Organization Quality of Life–Brief Scale after using the MPO.
The study, Microprocessor Controlled Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) vs. Stance Control vs. Locked KAFO: A Randomized Control Trial, was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.