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Physiother Theory Pract. 2014 Apr;30(3):189-95. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2013.863414. Epub 2013 Dec 11.

Effects of a recreational ice skating program on the functional mobility of a child with cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, University of Findlay , Findlay, OH , USA .



The purpose of this study was to describe the effects of an ice skating program on the ambulation, strength, posture and balance of a child with cerebral palsy (CP).


The subject was a five-year-old female with a diagnosis of CP and a Gross Motor Classification System level of III. The subject was a slow and labored household ambulator on level surfaces with bilateral forearm crutches and bilateral ankle foot orthoses. She was unable to transfer to and from the floor to stand independently, stand unsupported or take steps independently. Until the initiation of this study she was receiving physical therapy services 2×/week. For the purpose of this study she participated in a 1 h/week local ice skating program for people with disabilities for a period of four months.


The subject displayed clinically significant improvements in functional mobility including: improved standing posture; independent transfer to and from the floor to stand; maintenance of independent standing for 3 min; independent walking for 10 feet; increased ability to isolate extremity musculature; increased strength; improved Gross Motor Function Measure-88 scores and increased endurance. A subsequent testing session four months after the ice skating program had ended displayed declines but not to pre-intervention levels in muscle strength; ability to transfer to and from the floor to stand; functional mobility and standing balance.


The results appear to suggest that the participation in an ice skating program clinically improved this child's functional mobility. Further research needs to be done with regard to physical recreational programs and the benefit they can have on the function of children with activity limitations.

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