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Cerebral Palsy is a result of damage to the brain before, at, or shortly after the time of birth. It is one of the most common conditions causing children to have difficulty with walking and other movements. Most doctors are using gait analysis for cerebral palsy persons. Once the brain damage has occurred it does not change. A consequence of the brain damage however is that it affects how the muscles and bones develop. Many children therefore experience difficulties with walking which may change as they grow. Gait analysis for cerebral palsy patients can help in this situation.
Since the effects of cerebral palsy vary, each child will be affected differently and the way they can benefit from gait analysis for cerebral palsy will be different also. Walking patterns can be complex depending on the location, type and severity of the brain damage and on the growth of bones and muscles. Some children will also learn tricks to allow them to walk more easily, which can cause contractures. Each child will develop a unique walking pattern, related to his or her individual condition, which can be recorded with gait analysis for cerebral palsy.
By recording how children walk and looking closely at the walking pattern using gait analysis for cerebral palsy, it is often possible to identify why a child has particular difficulties walking and performing other tasks. Once this has been understood it becomes possible to consider how to best help him or her.
Gait analysis for cerebral palsy gives us information about exactly how people walk. If people have difficulty walking, then this information can be used to plan various types of treatment aimed at improving walking ability. If this is achieved, then other abilities, such as standing or running, may also be improved. Gait Analysis for cerebral palsy will therefore only be useful if it helps in planning treatment, and by giving children and their parents a better understanding of the overall process they will be able to become more fully involved in making decisions.
Gait analysis for cerebral palsy uses several devices to achieve the best results. Cameras and videos are used to record a person walking down a rail-supported path. Special flooring (force plates) on the path shows where the person's feet touch the ground while walking. Then computers can analyze how well the person walks. Special machines are also used to record muscle activity (electromyography) in the person's legs when he or she walks.
This data can predict what type of muscle, tendon, or joint surgery (orthopedic surgery) would be most helpful, evaluate the success of orthopedic surgery that has already been done, and suggest changes in a person's exercise program.
Results of gait analysis for cerebral palsy can show the exact movement of the lower body as a person walks. Gait analysis for cerebral palsy is not painful, and usual activities can resume as soon as the test is completed. Fortunately, there are no health risks with gait analysis.
Gait analysis for cerebral palsy is not available in all areas and needs to be done by a qualified and specially trained health professional. Gait analysis for cerebral palsy is an expensive test, however, in the long run it may save time and money because the test can help guide the treatment for cerebral palsy, prevent unneeded surgeries, and help a surgeon decide which type of surgery a person needs.