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Int J Rehabil Res. 2013 Sep;36(3):246-52. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e32835dd620.

Backward walking treadmill therapy can improve walking ability in children with spastic cerebral palsy: a pilot study.

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Department of Physical Therapy, College of Medical Sciences, Catholic University of Daegu, Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea.


The aim of this study was to determine whether an 8-week period of backward walking (BW) training on the treadmill can improve the gross motor function measure (GMFM), weight-bearing symmetry, and temporospatial gait parameters in individuals with spastic cerebral palsy. Twelve participants aged 5-15 years with spastic cerebral palsy participated in this study. The BW training was conducted on a treadmill for up to 20 min, with three sessions per week for 8 consecutive weeks. Before each treadmill training session, lower limb stretching was included in the session. Interlimb differentials of vertical ground reaction force while standing, temporal-distance gait parameters, and scores of dimension D and dimension E of the GMFM were determined. Participants showed statistically significant improvements in a measure of GMFM (P<0.01) and weight-bearing symmetry value (P<0.05), forward walking velocity (P<0.05), and step/stride length (P<0.05 or P<0.01). This pilot study suggests that BW therapy on a treadmill may help to improve walking abilities and other gross motor skills in this sample of patients.

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