Impact of orthotic therapy for improving activities of daily living in individuals with spinal cord injury: a retrospective cohort study

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Study design

Retrospective cohort study.


To determine the impact of leg orthotic therapy for improving activities of daily living after spinal cord injury.


Participating acute care and rehabilitation hospitals across Japan.


We retrospectively identified individuals with spinal cord injury admitted to eight participating hospitals in 2015–2016 from the Japan Rehabilitation Database. Data for 293 individuals were analyzed. Propensity score analysis by inverse probability weighting (IPW) was applied to adjust for potential bias and create two comparable groups. Outcomes were compared between the leg orthotic group and the non-leg orthotic group, using IPW. The primary outcome was motor Functional Independence Measure® (FIM) effectiveness score and the secondary outcome was motor FIM score at discharge. FIM was measured on hospital admission and discharge.


Leg orthoses were prescribed for 26% of the 293 individuals. Those prescribed leg orthoses had significantly higher motor FIM effectiveness scores than those who were not, before and after IPW (motor FIM effectiveness: 0.54 vs. 0.35, p < 0.01 and 0.45 vs. 0.36, p = 0.02). Discharge motor FIM was significantly higher in individuals who were prescribed leg orthoses than in those who were not, before and after IPW (discharge motor FIM: 64.5 vs. 52.2, p < 0.01 and 58.9 vs. 53.5, p = 0.02).


Leg orthoses may improve activities of daily living in individuals with spinal cord injury after the acute phase.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the Japan Association of Rehabilitation Database for its development of the Japan Rehabilitation Database used in this study. The manuscript reflects the views of the authors and not the official views of the Japan Association for Rehabilitation Database. This study was supported by a medical a research grant from The General Insurance Association of Japan (No. 17-1-57).

Author information


  1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, The Jikei University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

    • Takuya Hada
    •  & Masahiro Abo
  2. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Teikyo University School of Medicine University Hospital, Mizonokuchi, Kanagawa, Japan

    • Ryo Momosaki


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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryo Momosaki.