Influence of trunk control and lower extremity impairments on gait capacity in children with cerebral palsy
van der Linden, Marietta
van Hedel, Hubertus J. A.
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Balzer, J., Marsico, P., Mitteregger, E., van der Linden, M., Mercer, T. & van Hedel, H. (2017) Influence of trunk control and lower extremity impairments on gait capacity in children with cerebral palsy. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(26), pp. 3164-3170.
Purpose: We investigated the combined impact of trunk control and lower extremities impairments on predicting gait capacity in children with cerebral palsy (CP) and evaluated relationships between trunk control and lower extremities impairments. Methods: Data of 52 children with CP [29 boys, mean age 11 years 9 months (±4 years 6 months)] were included in this observational study. Gait capacity was measured by the “modified Time Up and Go test”. Experienced therapists performed the “Modified Ashworth Scale”, “Manual Muscle Test”, the “Selective Control Assessment of the Lower Extremity”, and the “Trunk Control Measurement Scale”. We calculated Spearman correlations coefficients (ρ) and performed regression analyses. Results: Trunk control was the strongest predictor (β = –0.624, p < 0.001) when explaining the variance of gait capacity and remained in the model together with spasticity (R2 = 0.67). Muscle strength and selectivity correlated moderately to strongly with the trunk control and gait capacity (–0.68 ≤ ρ ≤ –0.78), but correlations for the spasticity were low (ρ<–0.3). Conclusions: The interconnection between trunk control, leg muscle strength and selectivity for gait capacity in children with CP was shown. It indicates the significance of these impairments in gait assessment and, potentially, rehabilitation.Implications for RehabilitationTrunk control was the strongest predictor for gait capacity in a regression model with lower extremity spasticity, muscle strength and selectivity and age as independent variables.Lower extremity muscle strength, selectivity, and trunk control explained a similar amount of gait capacity variance which is higher than that explained by lower extremity spasticity.Lower extremity muscle strength and selectivity correlated strongly with trunk control.Therefore, we cautiously suggest that a combined trunk control and lower extremity training might be promising for improving gait capacity in children with CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System level I–III), which needed to be tested in future intervention-studies. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group