Cerebral Palsy Gait Disorders
Children with cerebral palsy may have a number of bone, joint and muscle problems that affect their walking (gait):
- Spasticity of the rectus muscle may cause knee stiffness.
- External rotation of the legs and severe flat feet combine to limit the "push-off" ability to move forward, making walking slow.
- Contractures of the hamstring muscles may cause crouching, especially in older children who had excessive lengthening of their heel cords in early childhood.
- Spasticity of the posterior tibialis muscle can cause the foot to turn down and inward (equinovarus).
How we can help — treatment options
When the factors that affect gait are complex, the child may be referred for a gait lab analysis to evaluate the problems and provide data for surgical intervention.
Braces or exercises are not effective in improving rotation problems, but surgical interventions help correct tibial torsion. This procedure involves rotating the bone and holding it with pins. Casts are necessary after the surgery. This surgery can improve the child's ability to walk.
Post-operative rehabilitation is key after surgery. Our cerebral palsy team will develop a plan for your child that will lead to a rapid return to maximum function. This may include either an inpatient or outpatient program at Children's Seashore House.