A comparison of the initial orthotic effects of functional electrical stimulation and ankle-foot orthoses on the speed and oxygen cost of gait in multiple sclerosis

Renfrew, Linda (Miller) and Lord, Anna C and McFadyen, Angus K and Rafferty, Danny and Hunter, Rebecca and Bowers, Roy and Mattison, Paul and Moseley, Owen and Paul, Lorna (2018) A comparison of the initial orthotic effects of functional electrical stimulation and ankle-foot orthoses on the speed and oxygen cost of gait in multiple sclerosis. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 5. ISSN 2055-6683

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    Abstract

    Foot drop affects walking in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). This study compares the initial orthotic effects of two treatments for foot drop: ankle-foot orthoses (AFO) and functional electrical stimulation (FES), on the speed and oxygen cost of walking in MS. Method and materials: Seventy-eight pwMS were randomised to receive AFO or FES (ODFS PACE (OML, Salisbury, UK)). Participants completed the 25-ft walk test (25ftWT) and 5-min self-selected walk test (5minSSWT), from which oxygen cost was determined, with and without their device. Between-, within- and sub-group analyses (based on baseline walking speed of <0.8 m/s (slow) or ≥0.8 m/s (fast)) were undertaken. Results: No significant differences between baseline measures were observed. The AFO group walked significantly slower than the FES group (5minSSWT, p = 0.037, 0.11 m/s). The AFO group walked significantly slower with than without AFO (25ftWT, p = 0.037), particularly in the fast-walking group ( p = 0.011). The slow-walking FES group walked significantly faster with FES than without (25ftWT; p = 0.029, 5minSSWT; p = 0.037). There were no differences in the fast-walking FES group or in the oxygen cost for either device. Conclusion: AFO reduced walking speed, particularly in fast walkers. FES increased walking speed in slow, but not fast walkers.