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Gait Posture. 2009 Nov;30(4):395-404. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2009.07.110. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Review of quantitative measurements of upper limb movements in hemiplegic cerebral palsy.

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Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


This review provides an overview of results found in literature on objective measurements of upper limb movements in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (HCP). Seventeen articles were selected following a systematic search. Analysed tasks varied from simple reaching and gross motor functions to complex, fine motor tasks. Spatiotemporal characteristics have been extensively studied and longer movement durations, slower movement speed and reduced trajectory straightness at the affected upper limb, compared to the non-affected side or healthy children, were most frequently reported. Joint kinematics has been far less studied. The limited data confirm the clinical impression of children with HCP using less elbow extension and supination to reach for an object, which is compensated by increased trunk flexion. Increased trunk involvement was also reported during gross motor functions. Although three-dimensional (3D) movement analysis seems promising to provide additional insights in the pathological upper limb movements observed in HCP, future standardisation of the entire protocol is crucial. No consensus exists on the procedures for data collection, processing, analysing and reporting of results, or what upper limb tasks should be assessed. The International Society of Biomechanics recently proposed recommendations on the definition of upper limb joint coordinate systems and rotation sequences. These guidelines were not yet applied in these studies. Although the diverse methodological approaches used in the studies complicate the comparison of published results, some general conclusions could be drawn. A further standardisation of the protocol for 3D upper limb movement analysis will provide the foundation for comparable and repeatable results and eventually facilitate the selection and planning of treatment interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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