Content » Vol 44, Issue 3

Original report

Managing spastic hypertonia in children with cerebral palsy via repetitive passive knee movements

Hsin-Yi Kathy Cheng, Yan-Ying Ju, Chia-Ling Chen, May-Kuen Alice Wong
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0937


Objective: Most children with cerebral palsy have increased muscle tension in the lower extremities, which inevitably leads to abnormal gait characteristics. Proper management of excessive muscle tension is therefore of great importance. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of continuous passive motion on children with cerebral palsy, regarding their lower extremity spastic hypertonia and ambulatory function.
Design: A repeated measures design.
Subjects: Sixteen children with cerebral palsy.
Methods: Intervention was applied to the subject’s knees with a continuous passive motion device (at velocities of 15 and 0º/s) for 20 min. Effects were evaluated via variables measuring range-of-motion, muscle tone, and ambulatory function before, immediately after, and 30 min after intervention.
Results: For the 15º/s intervention, significant differences were found in time, intervention, and interaction among variables, including active range-of-motion of the knee (increased), relaxation index (increased), Modified Ashworth Scale (decreased), Timed Up-and-Go (decreased), and 6-Minute Walk test (increased). No difference was found in passive range of motion measurements. For the 0º/s control condition, none of the dependent variables demonstrated statistically significant differences.
Conclusion: Repetitive passive movement can reduce lower extremity spastic hypertonia in children with cerebral palsy, and improve ambulatory function in terms of walking speed.

Lay Abstract


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