OrthopedicsThe role of gait analysis in the orthopaedic management of ambulatory cerebral palsyNarayanan, Unni GAuthor Information Divisions of Orthopaedic Surgery and Population Health Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada Correspondence to Unni G. Narayanan, MBBS, FRCSC (MSc), Assistant Professor of Surgery, Divisions of Orthopaedic Surgery and Population Health Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, S-107, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada Tel: 1 416 813 6432; fax: 1 416 813 6414; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Pediatrics: February 2007 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 38-43 doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e3280118a6d Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The literature was reviewed to describe the role of gait analysis in the orthopaedic management of ambulatory children with cerebral palsy and examine the current best evidence to support these roles. Recent findings Gait laboratory analysis is superior to visual or observational analysis of gait because it provides an objective record of gait that is able to quantify the magnitude of deviations of pathologic gait from normal and also explain these abnormalities. Recognizable gait patterns can be classified and used for making treatment decisions, the effectiveness of which can be assessed using gait analysis as a measure of gait outcomes. There are many sources of variability, however, including patients themselves, the gait laboratories and testing processes, interpretation of data and surgeons' surgical recommendations. Summary Although gait analysis has been shown to alter decision making, there is little evidence that the decisions based on gait analysis lead to better outcomes. Consequently, clinical gait analysis remains controversial, with wide variation in the rates of utilization of gait analysis in the management of children with ambulatory cerebral palsy. The time is ripe for clinical trials and cohort studies to provide the evidence to establish the appropriate utilization of this technology. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.