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Stretching and Progressive Resistance Exercise in Children With Cerebral Palsy

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Fosdahl, Merete Aarsland PT, MSc; Jahnsen, Reidun PT, PhD; Kvalheim, Kristin PT; Holm, Inger PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000616
RESEARCH REPORTS
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Purpose: To evaluate the effect of stretching and progressive resistance exercise on range of motion and muscle strength in children with cerebral palsy.

Methods: Thirty-seven children with spastic bilateral cerebral palsy and Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I to III were randomized to an intervention and a comparison group. The intervention included stretching of hamstrings and progressive resistance exercise, targeting the lower extremities for 16 weeks, followed by a 16-week maintenance program. Passive and active popliteal angle and muscle strength were evaluated at 0, 16, and 32 weeks.

Results: After 16 weeks nonsignificant improvements were found in passive, active popliteal angle and quadriceps and hamstrings strength.

Conclusion: A 16-week stretching and progressive resistance exercise program followed by a 16-week maintenance program showed nonsignificant improvements in passive, active popliteal angle and muscle strength for the intervention group.

To evaluate the effect of stretching and progressive resistance exercise on range of motion and muscle strength in children with cerebral palsy.

Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (Mss Fosdahl and Kvalheim and Dr Jahnsen), Department of Clinical Neuroscience for Children, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Division of Orthopaedic Surgery (Dr Holm), Section of Research, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Faculty of Medicine (Ms Fosdahl and Drs Jahnsen and Holm), Department of Health Science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Correspondence: Merete Aarsland Fosdahl, PT, MSc, Division of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience for Children, Oslo University Hospital, Postbox 4950, 0424 Oslo, Norway (mfosdahl@ous-hf.no).

Grant Support: This study was supported by a PhD grant from Sophies Minde Orthopedics AS, Oslo, Norway.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association