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Twenty-two children with spinal paraplegia were entered into a prospective randomised study to assess the efficacy of two reciprocating orthoses and to identify any prognostic factors that might affect continuing use of the devices. Thirteen received a hip guidance orthosis (HGO) and nine a reciprocating gait orthosis (RGO). They were followed for a mean of ten years. At one year follow-up there were three statistically significant differences between the two groups at the 5% level: repairs were commoner in the RGO group, the RGO group improved in their ability to walk over difficult outdoor surfaces and the HGO group improved more in their ability to rise from a sitting to standing position. At one year follow-up there was a positive parental and child's view of the benefits of the orthoses, but by ten years only 24% of the patients were still using the orthoses. We were not able to show any definite advantage of one device over the other or any statistically significant prognostic factors for walking in the longer term with a reciprocating orthosis. We question whether or not the routine provision of these types of orthosis is justifiable when it appears that, in the longer term, the patients we studied preferred wheelchair mobility.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date



9 Suppl 1


15 - 18


Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Orthotic Devices, Paraplegia, Treatment Outcome, Wheelchairs