Multi-segment foot mobility in a hinged ankle-foot orthosis: The effect of rotation axis position

A. Leardini, A. Aquila, P. Caravaggi, C. Ferraresi, S. Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hinged ankle-foot orthoses are prescribed routinely for the treatment of ankle joint deficits, despite the conflicting outcomes and the little evidence on their functional efficacy. In particular, the axis of rotation of the hinge is positioned disregarding the physiological position and orientation. A multi-segment model was utilized to assess in vivo the effect of different positions for this axis on the kinematics of foot joints.A special custom-made hinged orthosis was manufactured via standard procedures for a young healthy volunteer. Four locations for the mechanical axis were obtained by a number of holes where two nuts and bolts were inserted to form the hinge: a standard position well above the malleoli, at the level of the medial malleolus, at the level of the lateral malleolus, and the physiological between the two malleoli. The shank and foot were instrumented with 15 reflective markers according to a standard protocol, and level walking was collected barefoot and with the orthosis in the four mechanical conditions.The spatio-temporal parameters observed in the physiological axis condition were the closest to normal barefoot walking. As expected, ankle joint rotation was limited to the sagittal plane. When the physiological axis was in place, rotations of the ankle out-of-sagittal planes, and of all other foot joints in the three anatomical planes, were found to be those most similar to the natural barefoot condition.These preliminary measures of intersegmental kinematics in a foot within an ankle-foot orthosis showed that only a physiological location for the ankle mechanical hinge can result in natural motion at the remaining joints and planes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-277
Number of pages4
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Axis of rotation
  • Foot and ankle
  • Hinged AFO
  • Multi-segmental kinematics
  • Orthosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Biophysics


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