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Development and Initial Evaluation of a Soft Ankle Support for Children With Ankle Impairments

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Purpose:

Develop and initially evaluate a soft ankle support (SAS) garment for children with ankle impairments.

Description of Cases:

Two participants were evaluated at baseline and interviews with their parent(s) to identify wants and needs for the SAS. The SAS was developed and evaluated via participant report and functional measures in barefoot, ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), and SAS conditions.

Outcomes:

Children and parents expressed dissatisfaction with AFOs' dimensions, weight, adjustability, comfort, and ease of use. Gait and gross motor function were similar for SAS and AFOs' conditions; however, participants rated the SAS better for weight and bulk, integration with shoes, adjustability, comfort, cost, and washability.

Discussion:

The SAS and AFOs performed similarly in this initial testing, yet the SAS also met participants' needs across key metrics not well addressed by AFOs. Ankle support devices that meet users' broad needs may support improved adherence and user satisfaction.

Keywords: ankle-foot orthosis; case report; pediatric; soft orthosis; user-centered design

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2023

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