Diplegia is a form of cerebral palsy affects the legs more than the arms, although all the limbs may be involved. At times only the legs are affected. It is the most common form of cerebral palsy and occurs in about 70 percent of those who have the condition.
The characteristics of diplegia cerebral palsy include:
- Muscles are stiff and are permanently contracted
- Legs are affected more than the arms
- Hips are flexed; hip problems can lead to arthritis
- Knees nearly touch
- Legs turn inward and may cross at the knees
- Patients have a scissors gait
- Ankles turn out from the leg
- Walking on the toes
- Bones that twist as a result of constant muscle tension
These patients are less likely to have seizures and learning disabilities compared to patients with hemiplegia (a condition in which the arms are more affected than the legs).
Although the main problem in these patients appears to be their muscles, the origin of the condition is in the brain. The brains of these patients are damaged either during fetal development, during the perinatal period (just before, during, and after birth), or in the young child who for some reason suffers trauma to the brain.
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Some of the causes of cerebral palsy are:
- Maternal infection (for example, German measles) during pregnancy
- Hypoxia (low oxygen levels) in the brain, which might occur during the perinatal period
- Bleeding in the brain
- Trauma to the fetal brain
Sometimes an injury before, during or shortly after birth can cause cerebral palsy. This can be caused by mistakes such as a delayed C-section or failing to recognize fetal distress. Children younger than two years old can develop cerebral palsy occur if they are in a car accident, for example, or if they suffer a serious fall, or are abused.
Treatments and aids for cerebral palsy diplegia include:
- Physical therapy to stretch the limbs, help patients learn to move as best they can by training muscles, doing exercises, and improving strength, flexibility and balance
- Surgery to release tight muscles or to correct anatomical abnormalities
- Drugs to treat pain, relax muscles, and control seizures
- Orthotic devices
Early treatment when the child is still a baby is important for patients with cerebral palsy. If your baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy diplegia, it can be frightening. All the treatments and the challenges you and your child face can seem overwhelming. But, help may be available to you.
Our cerebral palsy lawyers may be able to help you obtain compensation to pay for expensive treatments and to ensure that your child achieves the highest quality of life. To find out if you are eligible for compensation, please contact us today to schedule a free case review with a qualified and experienced cerebral palsy lawyer.
Viewers of WBAY, Channel 2, pledged a record $1.2 million for cerebral palsy (CP) last Saturday and Sunday.
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