Charcot-Marie-Tooth patients delay using prescribed ankle foot orthoses

I wanted to share this article from Lower Extremity Review

Even if they have a device prescription, individuals with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease tend to put off wearing ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) until walking function is impaired, according to research conducted at St. George’s University of London and Kingston University, London.

Investigators compared presentation and gait function in two groups of people with CMT; 11 wore AFOs and 21 did not. Using a 10-m timed walk and a six-minute-walk test to evaluate gait function, researchers found that AFO wearers walked more slowly and with more effort than those who didn’t wear AFOs. The device wearers also had more severe disease, weaker leg muscles, and an increased perception of walking difficulty.

Walking ability among AFOs wearers was related to fatigue and perceived exertion and walking ability; among nonwearers, lower extremity muscle function determined gait function.
Presentation was similar in people who wear their prescribed AFOs, those who don’t wear them, and those not prescribed the devices. Investigators concluded that patients choose to wear AFOs when their condition is sufficiently impaired.

Source: Ramdharry GM, Pollard AJ, Marsden JF, Reilly MM. Comparing gait performance of people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease who do and do not wear ankle foot orthoses. Physiother Res Int 2012 Jan 9. [Epub ahead of print].

I just received my AFO and it is something to get use too, and I purchase the cheapest I could afford...might have something to do with it? So far I am using it.....doctors are funny because the ortho doctor said I have mild drop foot another one says that he sees I have drop foot. I am confuse which is it doctors? So since insurance I had didn't pay for it and I purchase it with my doctor Rx then I guess I can or not ware it?

probably true a lot of people decide not to wear it. I might end up doing that maybe? still out still wondering how much I really need it for me? May be they are correct you might need it if you really have bad drop foot condition?

just my fyi

Hi Ruthie,

Sounds like both doctors agree that you do have drop foot. Even if it's mild, drop foot can cause you to trip and fall. This is way wearing the brace is a good idea, to help prevent you from tripping over your own feet. Some AFO's take some time to break in, wearing for short periods of time until they are more comfortable.

After spending your own money on your AFO, seems like a waste not to use it. Hope it helps you to walk better.