A critical appraisal of "Conservative treatment for equinus deformity in children with cerebral palsy using an adjustable splint-assisted ankle-foot orthosis"




Dillon, Kelli

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This paper is a critical appraisal of an article that compares the long-term efficacy of an adjustable splint-assisted ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) and a static AFO in the treatment of children with Cerebral Palsy related deformities. This article was found using the PubMed online database. There were both strengths and weaknesses in the introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections of this article. The authors of this article provide a decent overview of Cerebral Palsy, equinus deformity, the current use of static AFOs, and their proposed use of an adjustable splint-assisted AFO. The authors were strong in explaining their designed orthotic and how the biomechanics of their design will provide greater long-term benefits than the static AFO. The methods and results were adequately explained and the findings of the study were appropriately concluded. However, the study may be difficult to replicate, as it lacks details on the physical therapy exercises the patients performed during the clinical trial and the outcome measures were not adequately explained. In addition, the authors utilized older literature to support their conclusions, which may decrease the validity of their findings. Although there were weaknesses to this study, the strengths outweighed them. The findings were significant and the conclusions provide support for long-term use of a more beneficial intervention for the treatment of deformities in children with CP. Because this study is recent, further research on long-term use of adjustable splint-assisted AFOs is necessary to enhance the validity of the authors' findings before this intervention is applied in a clinical setting.