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We aimed to compare the effects of different ankle supports used after ankle injury/surgery on temporo-spatial gait characteristics. We conducted a randomized cross-over study including adult participants with no previous lower limb or neurological pathology, who underwent gait analysis on an electronic walkway in three different ankle supports, Tubigrip(®), a stirrup brace and a walker boot. The 18 participants were an average age of 42 (SD 13, range 24-62) years and 14 (88%) were female. Compared to Tubigrip(®), gait in the walker boot was slower (-0.19 m/s, 95%CI -0.23 to -0.16, P < 0.001), step length asymmetry was 10% (95%CI 9-12, P < 0.001) worse, single support time asymmetry was 5% (95%CI 3-7, P < 0.001) worse and participants also adopted a wider step width (4.1 cm, 95%CI 3.7-4.5, P < 0.001). There were no important differences in gait between the Tubigrip(®) and stirrup brace. The findings of this study suggest that there is a limit to the degree of normal walking characteristics in a walker boot in the absence of lower limb impairment. Further research is required to directly compare the effects of these ankle supports in clinical populations.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.jelekin.2015.08.004

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Electromyogr Kinesiol

Publication Date

12/2015

Volume

25

Pages

973 - 981

Keywords

Ankle, Ankle brace, Ankle support, Gait analysis, Physical therapy, Rehabilitation, Adult, Ankle Injuries, Cross-Over Studies, Female, Gait, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Muscle, Skeletal, Orthotic Devices, Walking