Purpose: This study investigated differences in impairment, activity limitation, participation restrictions and psychological distress between participants using ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) as recommended, participants who did not use AFOs as recommended and participants who did not know recommendations for use. Method: Adults (n = 157) fitted with an AFO by an NHS Orthotic Service in Scotland completed a postal questionnaire that measured impairment, activity limitations participation restrictions and psychological distress using scales from the RAND 36-Item Health Survey 1.0 and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results: 41% of participants used their AFOs as recommended, 32% did not use their AFOs as recommended and 27% did not know the recommendations for use. Participants using AFOs as recommended reported lower levels of impairment and activity limitations, indicated by higher energy levels (p = 0.005), higher physical functioning (p = 0.005), lower role-limitations due to emotional problems (p = 0.001) and lower levels of anxiety (p = 0.003) compared to people not using AFOs as recommended. Conclusion: Health professionals need to ensure whether patients understand the recommendations for use of their AFO. Additionally, the results of the study support the value of evaluating patients’ psychological well-being to gain a better understanding of AFO use.
Thanks to Chris Rowley and Irene Martin who assisted in dissemination of the questionnaire.
- activity limitation
- ankle-foot orthoses
- participation restriction