Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of selected assistive devices on normal standards of gait. The gait characteristics of stride length, step length, step width, and foot angle were analyzed for 24 right-dominant, healthy men under four conditions: right ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), right hemiplegic arm sling (HAS), both devices (AFO+HAS), and no devices. The dependent variables were measured by a standard method from ink traces left by subjects walking on newsprint. Order of conditions was controlled, and cadence remained consistent across all four conditions for each subject. The AFO and AFO+HAS conditions produced statistically significant changes from normal gait characteristics. The HAS alone did not produce significant changes. Data from the study may be used as a basis for goal setting and as a guideline for the optimal level of function possible for a person wearing these devices. The extent of the patient's orthopedic and neurologic involvement should of course be considered.