BACKGROUND: Cerebral palsy (CP) is an umbrella term where an injury to the immature brain affects muscle tone and motor control, posture, and at times, the ability to walk and stand. Orthoses can be used to improve or maintain function. Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) are the most frequently used orthoses in children with CP. However, how commonly AFOs are used by children and adolescents with CP is still unknown. The aims of this study were to investigate and describe the use of AFOs in children with CP in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Scotland, and Denmark, and compare AFO use between countries and by gross motor function classification system (GMFCS) level, CP subtype, sex, and age.
METHOD: Aggregated data on 8,928 participants in the national follow-up programs for CP for the respective countries were used. Finland does not have a national follow-up program for individuals with CP and therefore a study cohort was used instead. Use of AFOs were presented as percentages. Logistic regression models were used to compare the use of AFOs among countries adjusted for age, CP subtype, GMFCS level, and sex.
RESULTS: The proportion of AFO use was highest in Scotland (57%; CI 54-59%) and lowest in Denmark (35%; CI 33-38%). After adjusting for GMFCS level, children in Denmark, Finland, and Iceland had statistically significantly lower odds of using AFOs whereas children in Norway and Scotland reported statistically significantly higher usage than Sweden.
CONCLUSION: In this study, the use of AFOs in children with CP in countries with relatively similar healthcare systems, differed between countries, age, GMFCS level, and CP subtype. This indicates a lack of consensus as to which individuals benefit from using AFOs. Our findings present an important baseline for the future research and development of practical guidelines in terms of who stands to benefit from using AFOs.
Bibliographical note© 2023. The Author(s).
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Foot Orthoses
- Cerebral Palsy/diagnosis
- Cross-Sectional Studies