A Systematic Review to Determine Best Practice Reporting Guidelines for AFO Interventions in Studies Involving Children with Cerebral Palsy Academic Article uri icon


  • Studies which have examined the effects of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) on children with cerebral palsy (CP) often report insufficient detail about the participants, devices and testing protocols. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the level and quality of detail reported about these factors in order to generate best practice guidelines for reporting of future studies. A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify studies which examined any outcome measure relating to AFO use in children with CP. A customized checklist was developed for data extraction and quality assessment. There was substantial variability in the level and quality of detail reported across the 41-paper yield. Many papers reported insufficient detail to allow synthesis of outcomes across studies. The findings of this review have been used to generate guidelines for best practice of reporting for AFO intervention studies. It is important to ensure homogeneity of gait pattern in a subject sample or to subdivide a sample to investigate the possibility that heterogeneity affected results. It is also important to describe the orthosis in sufficient detail that the device can be accurately replicated because differences in designs have been shown to affect outcomes. These guidelines will help researchers provide more systematic and detailed reports and thereby permit future reviewers to more accurately assess both the reporting and quality of orthotic interventions, and will facilitate synthesis of literature to enhance the evidence base.

publication date

  • June 2010