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Effect of a combined stretching and strength training program on gait function in children with cerebral palsy, GMFCS level I and II: a randomized controlled trial
Fosdahl MA, Jahnsen R, Kvalheim K, Holm I
Medicina (Kaunas) 2019 Jun;55(6):250
clinical trial
6/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Ambulant children with cerebral palsy (CP) often develop impaired gait, and reduced active knee extension is often a part of the problem. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a combined intervention program including stretching and progressive resistance exercise (PRE) targeting active knee extension on gait function, in children with spastic CP. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-seven children (21 boys, 16 girls, mean age 10.2 (+/- 2.3) years), classified by Gross Motor Function Classification System I to III, were randomized to an intervention (n = 17) and a comparison group (n = 20). The intervention group received a 16-week combined exercise program (3 sessions per week) including stretching of hamstrings and PRE targeting the lower extremities, followed by a 16-week maintenance program (1 session per week). The comparison group received care as usual. Gait function was evaluated by three-dimensional gait analysis (3DGA); knee, hip and pelvic kinematics in the sagittal plane, step length and speed, Gait Deviation Index (GDI), and Six-Minute Walk test (6MWT) at 0, 16, and 32 weeks. RESULTS: There were no statistically significant differences between the intervention group and the comparison group for any of the gait parameters measured at 16 and 32 weeks. There was a significant increase in gait distance measured by 6MWT within both groups; however, no differences between the groups were found. CONCLUSION: A 16-week combined stretching and PRE program followed by a 16-week maintenance program did not improve gait function in ambulant children with CP.

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