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Pediatric Physical Therapy:
Section Information: Abstracts of Poster and Platform Presentations for the 2004 Combined Sections Meeting: Poster Presentations

THE EFFECTS OF BALLET EXERCISES AND STRETCHES ON RANGE OF MOTION, STRENGTH, AND GAIT IN A CHILD WITH NEUROLOGICAL DEFICITS.

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THE EFFECTS OF BALLET EXERCISES AND STRETCHES ON RANGE OF MOTION, STRENGTH, AND GAIT IN A CHILD WITH NEUROLOGICAL DEFICITS.

J.R. Long, S.L. Bede, E. Galanti, B.R. Wagner, M. Grant-Beuttler, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: In countries outside of the United States, Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) is used as a therapeutic modality to treat children with a variety of impairments. Prior research in DMT focuses on cognitive and behavioral effects of the therapy. This study examines potential physical and functional benefits that may result from treatment techniques based on DMT.

NUMBER OF SUBJECTS: The subject is a nine-year-old male who sustained a traumatic brain injury when struck by a vehicle at the age of two. He presents with right-sided hemiplegia, marked hip retraction with genu recurvatum on his involved side and excessive internal rotation of his uninvolved hip during gait.

MATERIALS/METHODS: A stretching and strengthening program using ballet techniques was designed within the subject’s specific abilities. Intervention occurred twice a week for 45-minute sessions over six weeks duration. The program was continually modified as tasks became unchallenging. Prior to the initial treatment, baseline measurements were taken for hip extension strength and range of motion (ROM), and a Pedograph gait analysis was completed. The gait analysis included measurements of step and stride lengths, base of support, foot angle, gait speed, and cadence. After the completion of the intervention, post-test data was acquired immediately following the final treatment session.

RESULTS: Improvements were observed for 23 of the 24 variables analyzed. Most notably, hip extensor strength and active ROM on the participant’s involved (right) side increased 17.6% and 248.5%, respectively. The participant’s passive ROM also increased 52.6% on his involved side. When wearing shoes and orthoses, his left foot angle decreased from 21.33 internal rotation to 12.13 internal rotation.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest using ballet exercises and stretches as a therapeutic modality may result in increased lower extremity strength and ROM and may also assist in facilitating a more normal, symmetrical gait in children with hemiplegia. Further research needs to be conducted with a larger subject population comprised of various ages and neurological deficits.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Using ballet as a therapeutic modality may promote gains in strength and range of motion as well as functional improvements while making therapy sessions more interesting and exciting for the patients. Ultimately, patients may prove to be more compliant with a regimen they enjoy doing.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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