Purpose: This study examined the effect of lower limb functional electrical stimulation (FES) after botulinum toxin injection in children with cerebral palsy on self-selected walking speed, plantar flexor and dorsiflexor muscle strength, and an optimal time frame for initiating FES after the injection.
Methods: Five subjects participated in a single-subject design. All subjects received a single botulinum toxin injection into the calf muscle, followed by a 4-week FES home program. Three subjects followed the protocol as prescribed; 2 subjects received no FES.
Results: FES after botulinum toxin increased isometric plantar flexor muscle strength, but did not produce changes in self-selected walking speeds or isometric dorsiflexor strength. A 32-day interval between botulinum toxin and the start of FES was most effective.
Conclusions and Recommendations for Clinical Practice: FES after botulinum toxin seems to be effective in improving some gait variables, although further research is needed for substantiation.
The authors report that FES after botulinum toxin seems to be effective in improving some gait variables, but they recommend that further research be conducted to substantiate their findings.
Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa
Correspondence: Anja Seifart, MSc, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This study was conducted in partial fulfillment of the Ms Seifart's MSc degree in Physiotherapy, University of Stellenbosch.