Enhancing walking performance in patients with peripheral arterial disease: An intervention with ankle-foot orthosis

Farahnaz Fallahtafti, Kaeli Samson, Zahra Salamifar, Jason Johanning, Iraklis Pipinos, Sara A. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a cardiovascular condition manifesting from narrowed or blocked arteries supplying the legs. Gait is impaired in patients with PAD. Recent evidence suggests that walking with carbon fiber ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) can improve patient mobility and delay claudication time. This study aimed to employ advanced biomechanical gait analysis to evaluate the impact of AFO intervention on gait performance among patients with PAD. Patients with claudication had hip, knee, and ankle joint kinetics and kinematics assessed using a cross-over intervention design. Participants walked over the force platforms with and without AFOs while kinematic data was recorded with motion analysis cameras. Kinetics and kinematics were combined to quantify torques and powers during the stance period of the gait cycle. The AFOs effectively reduced the excessive ankle plantar flexion and knee extension angles, bringing the patients' joint motions closer to those observed in healthy individuals. After 3 months of the AFO intervention, the hip range of motion decreased, likely due to changes occurring within the ankle chain. With the assistance of the AFOs, the biological power generation required from the ankle and hip during the push-off phase of walking decreased. Wearing AFOs resulted in increased knee flexor torque during the loading response phase of the gait. Based on this study, AFOs may allow patients with PAD to maintain or improve gait performance. More investigation is needed to fully understand and improve the potential benefits of ankle assistive devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131992
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Ankle foot orthoses
  • Intervention
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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