Rehabilitation of Early Stroke Patients Using an AFO: an RCT


Phase 1/2 Results N/A

Trial Description

Stroke is a major cause of disabilities worldwide. Stroke survivors commonly exhibit walking defects which lead to an altered, slow speed and asymmetric gait pattern. The main aims of rehabilitation are to enhance recovery of movement control and regain walking ability. Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), braces which encompass the foot and ankle joint extending to a point below the knee, are commonly prescribed to address ambulation impairments in stroke patients. Their main function is to support the foot and allow a subject to walk safely with a gait approaching normality. This project will aim to evaluate the early provision of AFOs as an adjunct to standard physiotherapy on the walking ability of stroke survivors. Usual rehabilitation practice will be the control condition. Participants will be recruited from the stroke unit of Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow. They will be randomised into two groups. Participants allocated in the control group will receive usual clinical practice as per routine for stroke patients. The intervention group will receive custom made solid AFOs as an adjunct. They will be provided with three AFOs, one for use during rehabilitation and two which will be used only during the outcome assessment sessions for research purposes. The intervention phase will last 24 weeks. Gait analysis will be performed three times for each participant (at baseline, 12 and 24 weeks after enrolment) in the biomechanical laboratory of Strathclyde University. During these sessions force and movement data of patients walking will be recorded. Fortnightly time and distance factors of gait will be measured and a battery of functional tasks will be performed in the physiotherapy gym of the hospital using a simple video camera and a grid lino-mat. During all assessments participants with an AFO will be asked to walk with and without the AFO provided.



  • Solid Ankle Foot Orthosis Other
    Other Names: Solid Ankle foot orthosis users
    Intervention Desc: Polypropylene (homopolymer) AFO with carbon fiber reinforcements is provided to experimental group patients as an adjunct therapy to conventional physical therapy.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Experimental group
    Description: Intervention Group patients receive custom made solid ankle foot orthosis (AFO)treatment.

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Open Label
  • Purpose: Supportive Care
  • Endpoint: Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary walking speed every 2 weeks Yes
Secondary Ground reaction force value and alignment every 12 weeks Yes