Pediatric Physical Therapy

Skip Navigation LinksHome > Spring 2013 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 > Infants With Spina Bifida: Immediate Responses to Contextua...
Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31827a7533
Research Article

Infants With Spina Bifida: Immediate Responses to Contextual and Manual Sensory Augmentation During Treadmill Stepping

Moerchen, Victoria A. PhD, PT; Hoefakker, Heather L. DPT

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Purpose: This study examined the effect of combined sensory enhancements and manual assistance on the immediate motor responsiveness of infants with spina bifida during treadmill trials.

Methods: Six infants with spina bifida, aged 4 to 9.5 months, with lesion levels ranging from L4 to S3 were tested in each of 3 randomly ordered sets of enhanced sensory conditions across 3 weekly visits to the laboratory. Sensory enhancements included visual flow, unloading, load, and friction, presented in single and combined applications, as well as a set of trials with manual assistance for stepping at 2 treadmill belt speeds. Dependent variables included step frequencies and overall infant activity.

Results: Friction+load was the most salient of the contextual sensory enhancements. Manual assistance at the slower speed was also effective at increasing infant stepping.

Conclusions: Sensory enhancements that increase stance excursion and vertical clearance during swing need further study.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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