The influence of external orthotic support on the adaptive gait characteristics of individuals with chronically unstable ankles

Gait Posture. 2003 Apr;17(2):152-8. doi: 10.1016/s0966-6362(02)00072-3.


External orthotic supports or braces are used clinically to treat individuals with chronically unstable ankles. Braces have efficacious effects on dynamic strength, passive tissue tension, and proprioception, but their effects on gait remains undetermined. The purpose of this study was to determine if overground locomotion, including walking up a step and a curb are influenced by orthotic device use. Twenty subjects, 10 with no previous injury and 10 with chronically unstable ankles, performed with no brace, a flexible brace and a semi-rigid brace while walking on a level surface, up a step and on a ramp. Differences were noted in kinematic and kinetic gait parameters between groups and between step and ramp conditions, suggesting that gait patterns vary between individuals who have had ankle sprain and those who have not. Few differences were noted between the brace and no brace conditions for both groups. Adding to the previously described efficacious benefits, we conclude that bracing does not alter selected gait parameters in individuals who have chronic ankle instability.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Joint Instability / rehabilitation*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture
  • Prognosis
  • Reference Values
  • Treatment Outcome