Pediatric Physical Therapy

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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e318206eefa
Research Article

Impact of Enhanced Sensory Input on Treadmill Step Frequency: Infants Born With Myelomeningocele

Pantall, Annette PhD; Teulier, Caroline PhD; Smith, Beth A PT, PhD; Moerchen, Victoria PT, PhD; Ulrich, Beverly D. PhD

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Abstract

Purpose: To determine the effect of enhanced sensory input on the step frequency of infants with myelomeningocele (MMC) when supported on a motorized treadmill.

Methods: Twenty-seven infants aged 2 to 10 months with MMC lesions at, or caudal to, L1 participated. We supported infants upright on the treadmill for 2 sets of 6 trials, each 30 seconds long. Enhanced sensory inputs within each set were presented in random order and included baseline, visual flow, unloading, weights, Velcro, and friction.

Results: Overall friction and visual flow significantly increased step rate, particularly for the older subjects. Friction and Velcro increased stance-phase duration. Enhanced sensory input had minimal effect on leg activity when infants were not stepping.

Conclusions: Increased friction via Dycem and enhancing visual flow via a checkerboard pattern on the treadmill belt appear to be more effective than the traditional smooth black belt surface for eliciting stepping patterns in infants with MMC.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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