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A user-centered qualitative study on experiences with ankle-foot orthoses and suggestions for improved design

Improving ankle-foot orthosis design can best be done by implementing
a user-centered approach. OBJECTIVE: To provide insight into the ideas of
ankle-foot orthosis users with flaccid ankle muscle paresis on the importance of
activities and suggestions for an improved ankle-foot orthosis design. STUDY DESIGN: A focus-group discussion with eight ankle-foot orthosis users (57 +/- 5
years, 50% female). METHODS: Main inclusion criteria were as follows: 18 years,
unable to stand on tip-toe and unable to lift toes. Main exclusion criterion was
spasticity of lower extremity muscles. Transcribed data were coded according to
the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Thematic
analysis with inductive approach was chosen to order and interpret codes.
RESULTS: Ankle-foot orthosis users ranked walking the most important activity
followed by sitting down/standing up from a chair. Their opinion was that
ankle-foot orthoses facilitate walking and standing. Ankle-foot orthosis users
suggested that an improved ankle-foot orthosis design should balance between
stability and flexibility. CONCLUSION: Current ankle-foot orthoses facilitate
walking which was the most important activity according to ankle-foot orthosis
users. An improved ankle-foot orthosis design should enable walking and should
optimize between stability and flexibility dependent on the activity and the
paresis severity. Clinical relevance Experienced users of ankle-foot orthosis
agreed that matching ankle-foot orthosis functions to daily-life activities is a
trade-off between stability and flexibility. An improved ankle-foot orthosis
design should at least enable level walking.

Langue : ANGLAIS

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