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Treadmill Training for a Child With Spina Bifida Without Functional Ambulation

Christensen, Catie PT, DPT; Lowes, Linda Pax PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000029
Case Report

Purpose: To describe and report the effect of an 8-week individualized, progressive, treadmill training program on the ambulatory ability of a 4-year-old child with myelomeningocele without functional ambulation.

Summary of Key Points: Heart rate and speed on the 2-minute walk test (2MWT) were used to individualize training. Ambulatory outcome measures taken at baseline, postintervention, and 6 weeks postintervention included the 2MWT and the Timed “Up and Go” (TUG). The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Index was used to measure functional mobility. Improvements were noted in ambulatory ability after training (2MWT, 64.10%; TUG, 34.66%) and at the 6-week follow-up (2MWT, 58.97%; TUG, 34.24%). The Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Index showed no significant difference.

Conclusion and Recommendations: Use of an individualized treadmill training program may have improved the ambulatory skills of a preschooler with myelomeningocele. More rigorous studies are needed to determine the effects of treadmill training with the spina bifida population and identify optimal training parameters.

An individualized treadmill-training program may have resulted in improved ambulatory skills of a preschooler with myelomeningocele. The authors recommend more rigorous study of this intervention for children with spina bifida.

The Division of Clinical Therapies, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.

Correspondence: Catie Christensen, PT, DPT, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 433 N Cleveland Ave, Westerville, OH 43082 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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