Lightweight, modular knee-ankle-foot orthosis for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: design, development, and evaluation

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1995 Dec;76(12):1156-62. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(95)80126-x.


Objective: The study aimed to design and construct a modular system of knee-ankle-foot orthotics (KAFOs) that could be quickly and easily assembled and provided to children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A pilot study would then compare the modular orthotics with the childrens' existing devices.

Design: Measurements from the legs of a consecutive sample of 26 Duchenne boys were taken to determine the sizing of the modular system. Nine boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy were randomly selected to take part in a pilot study that focused on a comparison between their original and modular KAFOs of supply time, weight, energy expenditure during gait, gait speed, and ease of don/doff.

Setting: The supply and fitting of the KAFOs can be done either in the hospital, clinic, or school.

Patients: Boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, referred by the clinician for provision of KAFOs. Nine boys were approached to take part in the pilot study; all accepted. Their age range was 5 to 13 years.

Main outcome measures: It is possible, by use of a modular KAFO system, to provide long leg orthoses to boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in approximately 1 hour.

Results: The pilot study also showed that the modular KAFOs provided a 23% weight saving, resulting in a 10% energy saving during ambulation and an 8% increase in walking speed. They were easier to don/doff and were preferred by all involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Braces*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Equipment Design
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophies / physiopathology
  • Muscular Dystrophies / rehabilitation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Walking