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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Using musculoskeletal modeling to evaluate the effect of ankle foot orthosis tuning on musculotendon dynamics: a case study


Choi H, Bjornson KF, Fatone S, Steele K



Publication Info:

Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology, Feb 2:1-6


PURPOSE: This case study examines the influence of an ankle foot orthosis footwear combination (AFO-FC) on musculotendon lengths and gait kinematics and kinetics after right thrombotic stroke resulting in left hemiplegia.
METHODS: Gait analysis was performed over three visits where the subject walked with an AFO-FC with two shank-to-vertical angle (SVA) alignments, a posterior leaf spring AFO (PLS AFO), and shoes alone. Biomechanical and musculoskeletal modeling was used to evaluate musculotendon lengths, kinematics, and kinetics for each condition.
RESULTS: The AFO-FC improved walking speed and non-paretic kinematics compared to the PLS AFO and shoes alone. The operating length of the paretic gastrocnemius decreased with the AFO-FC improving knee kinematics in swing, but not stance. As the SVA of the AFO-FC was reduced from 15 to 12, internal ankle plantar flexor moment increased. CONCLUSIONS: Musculoskeletal modeling demonstrated that the AFO-FC altered gastrocnemius operating length during post-stroke hemiplegic gait. Using these tools to evaluate muscle operating lengths can provide insight into underlying mechanisms that may improve gait and guide future AFO-FC design. Implications for Rehabilitation Modeling musculotendon operating lengths during movement has the potential to inform how ankle foot orthoses (AFO) affect tight muscles and improve mobility after stroke. Adjusting shank-to-vertical angle (SVA) of the AFO-footwear combination (AFO-FC) has the potential to improve gait kinematics by controlling length of the pathologic gastrocnemius and maximizing internal ankle plantar flexor moment of individuals with neuromuscular disorders.

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