Clinical Bottom Line
“How can I apply this information in clinical practice?”
The authors reported that measuring the thickness of the rectus femoris muscle at the thickest part of the muscle or at the longitudinal midpoint of the muscle did not make a difference when estimating the potential strength of the muscle in children with cerebral palsy.
* In any future studies done of children with cerebral palsy, measurement of muscle thickness of the rectus femoris (and perhaps other muscles as well) can validly be done at the longitudinal midpoint of the muscle or at the thickest part of the muscle.
* As ultrasound imaging becomes more commonplace in the clinic, measurement of the rectus femoris muscle may be used to document changes in muscle structure as a result of intervention such as resistance training. This measurement again can validly be done at the longitudinal midpoint or at the thickest part of the muscle.
* The authors recommend using the technique that measures at the midpoint of the muscle because it is less time consuming.
“What should I be mindful of when reading this article?”
* As the authors stated, while thickness of muscle has been shown to be diminished in children with cerebral palsy, muscle thickness alone may not correlate well with functional status in children with cerebral palsy.
* Any changes in muscle thickness as a result of a physical therapy intervention may not lead to corresponding changes in the function of a child with cerebral palsy.
Darl W. Vander Linden, PT, PhD
Department of Physical Therapy
Eastern Washington University
Shirley J. Carlson, PT, MS
Spokane Guild's School