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Effects of Surgical Lengthening of the Hamstrings Without a Concomitant Distal Rectus Femoris Transfer in Ambulant Patients With Cerebral Palsy

van der Linden, Mariëtta L Ph.D.; Aitchison, Alison M. B.Sc. (Hons), M.C.S.P.; Hazlewood, M. Elizabeth M.C.S.P.; Hillman, Susan J. M.Sc.; Robb, James E. F.R.C.S.Ed.

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: May-June 2003 - Volume 23 - Issue 3 - p 308-313
Gait Analysis/Neuromuscular

Eighteen ambulant patients (32 legs) who had undergone fractional lengthening of the medial and lateral hamstrings without rectus femoris transfer underwent pre- and postoperative gait analysis. A significant increase in the amount of knee extension and a decrease in the amount of peak knee flexion in swing were observed. This decrease in knee flexion signified a change towards more normal speed-related values. Dorsiflexion at initial contact decreased significantly for patients who did not undergo a gastrocnemius lengthening (n = 24). Absolute cadence was significantly lower after surgery, but the change in dimensionless cadence was not significantly different. This difference in the outcome between dimensionless and absolute stride parameters can be attributed to the increase in body height after surgery. The clinical significance of these findings is that it is important to recognize that postoperative effects of surgery on gait in children may, in part, be explained by changes in height and not surgery alone.

Study conducted at the Anderson Gait Analysis Laboratory, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

From the Anderson Gait Analysis Laboratory, Lothian Primary Care Trust, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mr. J. E. Robb, Orthopaedic Department, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Sciennes Road, Edinburgh EH9 1LF, Scotland (e-mail:

Funded by the James and Grace Anderson Trust.

© 2003 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins