Purpose: This study described developmental changes in treadmill (TM) stepping and physical activity (PA) of infants at risk for neuromotor delay (ND) and explored these changes by diagnosis of cerebral palsy (CP). Relationships of stepping and PA with walking onset were examined.
Method: Fifteen infants at risk for ND (9.9 ± 2.4 months) were tested every 2 months on a TM until walking onset or 24 months of corrected age. We recorded PA profiles using an activity monitor. Throughout the study, 6 of the 15 infants received a CP diagnosis.
Results: Infants increased alternating steps (AltStp), decreased toe contacts, and increased high-level PA. Infants with CP showed less AltStp, more toe contacts, and less high-level PA than those without CP. Infants' AltStp and high-level PA revealed a positive correlation to earlier onset of walking.
Conclusion: Future studies should examine whether a TM intervention could improve mobility in infants at risk for ND.