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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000057
Research Article

Effects of Short-Term Daily Community Walk Aide Use on Children With Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Pool, Dayna BSc Physio (Hons); Blackmore, A. Marie PhD; Bear, Natasha BSc Physio, M Biostat; Valentine, Jane MD

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine the effects of functional electrical stimulation (FES) on the main impairments affecting gait in children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy.

Methods:

A 20-week, multiple single-subject A-B-A design included a 6-week pre-FES phase, an 8-week FES phase, and a 6-week post-FES phase. Twelve children, aged 5 to 16 years, wore an FES device (the Walk Aide) daily for 8 weeks. Weekly measures included ankle range of motion, selective motor control, dorsiflexion and plantar flexion strength, gastrocnemius spasticity, single-limb balance, Observational Gait Scale (OGS) score, and self-reported toe drag and falls in the community.

Results:

Compared with the pre-FES phase, the FES phase showed significant improvements in ankle range of motion, selective motor control and strength, and reductions in spasticity, toe drag, and falls, but no change in OGS score. These improvements were maintained during the post-FES phase.

Conclusions:

Intermittent, short-term use of FES is potentially effective for reducing impairments affecting gait in children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association

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