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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008 Oct;50(10):759-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03045.x.

Muscle strength training to improve gait function in children with cerebral palsy.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of muscle strength training on gait outcomes in children with cerebral palsy. Sixteen children (two females, 14 males, Gross Motor Function Classification System levels I-II, mean age 12y 6mo, range 9y 4mo-15y 4mo) underwent muscle strength measurement using a handheld device, Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) assessment, three-dimensional gait analysis, joint range of motion assessment, and grading of spasticity before and after 8 weeks of training. All participants had a diagnosis of spastic diplegia and could walk without aids. Training consisted of exercises for lower extremity muscles with free weights, rubber bands, and body weight for resistance, three times a week. Values for muscle strength below normal were identified in all children; this was most pronounced at the ankle, followed by the hip muscles. After training, muscle strength and GMFM scores increased, velocity was unchanged, stride length increased, and cadence was reduced. There was an increase in hip extensor moment and power generated at push off. Eight weeks of muscle strength training can increase muscle strength and improve gait function.

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