Purpose: Persons with disabilities affecting lower-limb function use ankle- foot-orthoses (AFO) and knee-ankle-foot-orthoses (KAFO) on a regular basis. However, the effectiveness of these devices in daily use is seldom evaluated, especially in the developing world. This study aimed to evaluate user satisfaction with lower-limb orthotic devices while performing a broad spectrum of daily life activities in Pakistan, and to document the desired outcomes.
Method: A survey was conducted among orthotic device users in the out-patient departments of three hospitals in Lahore, Pakistan. The survey questionnaire was devised by adapting the Prosthetic Evaluation Questionnaire to suit orthotics evaluation. Fifty-four AFO and KAFO users participated in the study.
Results: Most users felt comfortable while walking on even surfaces with their orthoses. However, donning/doffing these, climbing stairs and performing certain routine activities were considered problematic for most people. Energy conservation was the most desired AFO feature, while the KAFO users wanted automatic knee-joint function.
Conclusion and Implications: Overall satisfaction with the existing lower- limb orthoses is adequate. Yet, significant improvements are needed in terms of energy efficiency and comfort while walking on different terrains. Further research is required in order to improve the functioning of the existing orthotic devices.