Gait analysis in a patient with severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: a case study with a new orthotic device for footdrop

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2010 Sep;46(3):355-61. Epub 2010 May 6.


Management of footdrop in severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) patients is a challenge owing to the combination of quadriceps muscle weakness, distal muscular atrophy, sensory impairment and poor soft tissue resistance to the placement of an orthotic device. We present a case study of a patient who gradually became unable to use his ankle-foot orthoses because they hampered the compensative movements required to stabilize his knees passively and caused pain. The aim of this report is to describe orthotic management in such a severe CMT case and to present a new orthotic device that we devised for the footdrop in this patient. We provided him with 3 different footdrop devices, each of which was highly elastic to allow knee hyperextension, and left him free to decide which one to use: 1) the silicone-ankle-foot orthoses were rapidly discarded because of pain; 2) the Codivilla support was not used because of discomfort and poor aesthetic appearance; 3) a new device, called the "Soft Footdrop Insert" (SFI), consisting of a sheet of Veolform, a reticulated polyolephinic foam, stuck to the counter of midcalf boots, was found to be effective, comfortable, pain-free and aesthetically acceptable, and was consequently used the vast majority of the time. At a 3-year follow-up, an instrumental gait analysis, in which ordinary shoes were compared with the Codivilla support and the SFI, revealed that both the Codivilla support and the SFI controlled footdrop more effectively than ordinary shoes and increased swing and mean velocity; in addition, the SFI yielded the best gait performances. We think that a soft, invisible device, such as the SFI, may satisfy the needs of CMT patients and improve compliance with orthoses-wearing for footdrop.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / complications
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / physiopathology
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Gait / physiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Shoes