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Balance on Ramps

How ankle-foot orthoses affect balance on ramps

  Jenny Bautista  Part-time as a Technical Assistant

Jenny Bautista
Part-time as a Technical Assistant


Hi!  My name is Jenny Bautista and I am working part-time as a Technical Assistant at Boundless Biomechanical Bracing.… but that’s not all.

I am also completing my Masters in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto with the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. As a young researcher I hope to support evidence-based practice in the field of orthotics.

I am passionate about improving the quality of life for people who wear orthoses and approach this passion from both a technician’s and a researcher’s perspective. Whether it is through making a well-made brace, or increasing our understanding of orthoses and the people who wear them. Working at Boundless has been a wonderful and informative experience for me, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn and work in such a supportive workplace.

Our Research Question

How do slopes effect the balance of ankle-foot orthosis wearers?

Many orthotic/brace users may notice that changes in terrain such as slopes and ramps make walking more difficult. This can also increase an individual’s risk of falling. My research involves investigating how walking up and down slopes affects balance in people who wear ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs). Given that slopes and ramps are found throughout so many of our environments, understanding how they affect balance for AFO users could be important for a number of reasons.

We hope information from this project will:

  • Increase our understanding of balance and fall risk in people who wear AFOs.

  • Provide Orthotists and other clinicians with the knowledge of how certain AFOs affect their patients’ ability to meet the challenges of walking on slopes.

Calling all AFO Users!

Are you interested in getting involved? We are currently recruiting participants in two groups:
Group #1: use an ankle-foot orthosis (see image)
Group #2:  do not use an ankle-foot orthosis.
Data collection is ongoing through the month of October, 2017.

If you are interested in participating, and would like more information, please contact my supervisor Dr. Alison Novak at alison.novak@uhn.ca or 416-597-3422 x. 7713.

 An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)

An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO)

Study Participant Q&A

Q: What will I do as a participant in the study?
A: We will meet you at our lab (Toronto Rehabilitation Institute at 550 University Ave), help you complete consent forms and get you ready for walking and balance tests. We do these tests with and without your braces on slopes ranging from 0° to 8°. We ensure all patient safety using safety harnesses and handrails. 

Q: How long will it take?
A: Between 1.5 and 2.5hrs

Q: What's in it for me?
 Good question. We value your time and as such every participant receives $20 for parking and $10 per hour spent in the lab

 The outside of our lab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

The outside of our lab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

 A peak inside our lab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

A peak inside our lab at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

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