Conventional and Plastic/Metal KAFOs - II. Objective Comparisons

DAVID E. KREBS, RPT*New York, New York

Comparative efficacy of plastic/metal (PM) and leather/metal (LM) knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) was investigated.

The fifteen children required, on average, 85 per cent longer to don an LM and its attached shoe than to don one PM and its separate shoe. Children took an average of 21 per cent longer to traverse a 10-m corridor at top speed with LMs than with PMs. Rising from the floor and stair/ramp ascent and descent times were virtually identical while wearing the PMs and LMs.

Observational gait assessment revealed no difference between PMs and LMs, except in valgus/varus ankle control, where the PMs were significantly more effective. Reliability of the three observers on a three-point deviation scale was ± 0. 1 (SEM) between raters (within sessions), while within-rater (between sessions) SEM was ± 0.04. Optoelectric kinematic gait evaluation was also performed.

Children's perception of the difference in LMs and PMs weights were significantly correlated (r=.84) with the actual weight of the devices. No other concordance between subjective and objective responses was found in preliminary data analysis.

*Prosthetics and Orthotics, New York University, 317 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016