OBJECTIVE: To confirm the apparent effectiveness of botulinum toxin (BTX) in hemiparetic patients with ankle plantar flexors and foot invertor spasticity. METHODS: Twenty three hemiparetic patients with spasticity of the ankle plantar flexors and foot invertors were included in a randomised double blind, placebo controlled study with BTX. Patients were examined on days 0, 30, 90, and 120 and received one injection of BTX and one of placebo in a random order at day 0 and day 90. RESULTS: Patients reported a clear subjective improvement in foot spasticity after BTX (P = 0.0014) but not after placebo. Significant changes were noted in Ashworth scale values for ankle extensors (P < 0.0001) and invertors (P = 0.0002), and for active ankle dorsiflexion (P = 0.0001). Gait velocity was slightly but not significantly (P = 0.0731) improved after BTX injections. The severity of spasticity did not modify treatment efficacy, but BTX was less effective in patients with longer duration of spasticity (P = 0.0081). CONCLUSION: The efficacy of BTX injections in the treatment of spastic foot suggests that BTX may be particularly useful during the first year after a stroke.
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