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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2007 Feb;49(2):101-5.

Partial body-weight-supported treadmill training can improve walking in children with cerebral palsy: a clinical controlled trial.

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1
Musculoskeletal Research Centre, School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. K.Dodd@latrobe.edu.au

Abstract

This matched-pairs, clinical controlled trial evaluated the effects of a school-based, partial body-weight-supported treadmill training (PBWSTT) programme, conducted twice a week for 6 weeks, on the walking speed and endurance of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Pairs of children (10 males, four females; mean age 8 y 10 mo [SD 2 y 6 mo], range 5-14 y) matched for sex, age, type of CP (athetoid quadriplegia, n=6; spastic quadriplegia, n=6; spastic diplegia, n=2), and Gross Motor Function Classification System level (10 at Level I V, four at Level III) were allocated to the experimental or control group. Compared with the control group, the seven treadmill-training participants increased their self-selected walking speed over 10 metres (Mann-Whitney U=9.00, z=-1.98, p=0.048; mean difference 4.21 m/min). A trend was also found for increased distance walked over ground in 10 minutes (t[12]=1.88, p=0.083; mean difference 19.81 m). A relatively short PBWSTT programme can improve the walking speed of children with CP and moderate to severe disabilities. Walking endurance might also improve in some children. Treadmill training seems to be a useful gait training option for children with C P, and it seems feasible to conduct such a programme within a school environment.

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