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An Investigation of the Neurophysiologic Effect of Tone-Reducing AFOs on Reflex Excitability in Subjects with Spasticity Following Stroke while Standing
journal contributionposted on 22.02.2022, 22:51 by A Ibuki, T Bach, D Rogers, J Bernhardt
Tone-reducing ankle-foot orthoses (TRAFOs) are said to improve the control and functioning of spastic lower limbs by their biomechanic and neurophysiologic effects. Unfortunately, there is limited evidence in literature to support the theory that TRAFOs can effectively decrease spasticity in the foot and ankle neurophysiologically. The primary purpose of this investigation was to determine the neurophysiologic effect of TRAFOs on soleus muscle reflex excitability in subjects with spasticity following stroke while standing. A repeated-measures intervention study was conducted on 15 adult subjects with stroke who were recruited from the community. Custom-made articulated ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) and TRAFOs with orthokinetic compression garments (OCGs) were fabricated for each subject. Five conditions were tested: (1) Shoes only, (2) AFO, (3) TRAFO, (4) TRAFO with OCG, (5) shoes only, to determine if the TRAFOs were most effective in decreasing spasticity as assessed by the ratio of maximum Hoffmann reflex amplitude to maximum muscle response amplitude (Hmax:Mmax ratio) of the soleus. The results found that there were no significant treatment effects for the interventions (F0.992, df2.167, p0.388), however, when analysed subject-by-subject, four subjects displayed significant increases in their Hmax:Mmax ratios to at least one treatment condition. Overall, the results demonstrated that the tone-reducing devices had no significant neurophysiologic effect on soleus reflex excitability in subjects with spasticity, however individual responses showed that the TRAFOs increased spasticity in some individuals. © 2010 ISPO.