To identify clinical and biomechanical parameters that influence swing-phase knee flexion and contribute to stiff-knee gait in individuals with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and flexed-knee gait.
Retrospective analysis of clinical data and gait kinematics collected from 2010 to 2013.
Motion and gait analysis laboratory at a children's hospital.
Individuals with spastic CP (N=34; 20 boys, 14 girls; mean age ± SD, 10.1±4.1y [range, 5–20y]; Gross Motor Function Classification System I–III) who walked with flexed-knee gait ≥20° at initial contact and had no prior surgery were included; the more-involved limb was analyzed.
Main Outcome Measures
The magnitude and timing of peak knee flexion (PKF) during swing were analyzed with respect to clinical data, including passive range of motion and Selective Control Assessment of the Lower Extremity, and biomechanical data, including joint kinematics and hamstring, rectus femoris, and gastrocnemius muscle-tendon length during gait.
Data from participants demonstrated that achieving a higher magnitude of PKF during swing correlated with a higher maximum knee flexion velocity in swing (ρ=.582, P<0.001) and a longer maximum length of the rectus femoris (ρ=.491, P=.003). In contrast, attaining earlier timing of PKF during swing correlated with a higher knee flexion velocity at toe-off (ρ=−.576, P<.001), a longer maximum length of the gastrocnemius (ρ=−.355, P=.039), and a greater peak knee extension during single-limb support phase (ρ=−.354, P=.040).
Results indicate that the magnitude and timing of PKF during swing were independent, and their biomechanical correlates differed, suggesting important treatment implications for both stiff-knee and flexed-knee gait.
List of abbreviations:CP (cerebral palsy), PKF (peak knee flexion), SCALE (Selective Control Assessment of the Lower Extremity), SLS (single-limb support)
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Published online: October 30, 2014
Supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (grant no. DGE-1147470).
© 2015 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.