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Cerebral Palsy and Gait Disorders

Cerebral Palsy and Gait Analysis

The advent of gait analysis in the understanding and treatment of gait problems of cerebral palsy was very important. It changed how surgery was done, both before surgery when deciding what procedure would be best, and following surgery to evaluate the success of the operation.

Sometimes, certain surgical procedures were discontinued because they were shown to either do no good or to be harmful to these patients. Gait analysis is the visualization and evaluation of the movements of the lower body when someone is walking. It is an especially useful tool when evaluating and treating the walking movements in persons with cerebral palsy.

The equipment used in gait analysis includes:

  • Video cameras to show how a person walks and to document the movements
  • Computers for conducting analyses of the gait
  • Force plates (a particular type of flooring that responds to a person's placing their feet on the ground) to demonstrate where someone's feet touch the floor when they walk
  • Electromyography to track the movement of the patient's leg muscles when walking

The reasons for doing the analysis are:

  • To determine what types of exercise might be best for the patient
  • To evaluate the usefulness of orthotics
  • To help decide the kind and location (muscle, tendon and joint) of surgery to treat the gait disorder
  • Evaluate the patient to see how well physical therapy, surgery, medication, orthotics and other approaches help the patient

Cerebral Palsy Gait Treatment

The gait problems of physical therapy concern not only the direct complication resulting from the brain damage, but the additional harm done as the patient tries to adapt to his or her disabled condition.

Treatments for gait problems include:

  • Physical therapy, which helps by training muscles and doing exercises that can improve strength, flexibility, balance, motor development and ability to walk
  • Drugs, which are able to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and control pain
  • Orthopedic surgery which is used to correct anatomical abnormalities or to release tight muscles; surgery can place the legs in correct positions and lengthen muscles and tendons that are too short because of contractures
  • Braces and splints that are used as support to improve walking or used to stretch stiff muscles and avoid contractures
  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers

If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and needs such treatments, it can be costly. To find out if you qualify for compensation to pay for these and other needed treatments for your child's cerebral palsy, please contact our cerebral palsy lawyers today.