The role of head stabilization in locomotion in children with cerebral palsy

L Wallard, B Bril, G Dietrich, Y Kerlirzin, J Bredin
Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012, 55 (9): 590-600

OBJECTIVE: The objective of the present study was to highlight the role of head stabilization and to analyze multisegment head-trunk coordination during gait in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

MATERIAL AND METHOD: Postural control was measured and compared in a group of 16 CP subjects and a control group of 16 healthy subjects. The subjects had to walk along an out-and-back course at their freely chosen gait speed. For each gait cycle, motion analysis techniques were used to calculate the amplitude of the head angle (relative to the trunk) in the sagittal and frontal planes.

RESULTS: Kinematic analysis revealed a number of significant intergroup differences, with a more pronounced variation in the head angle (relative to the trunk) in the CP group than in the control group. There were no significant intergroup differences in terms of the angular amplitude of the head in the sagittal plane.

CONCLUSION: The greater variability of the head angle in the frontal plane in the CP subjects might reflect the presence of greater head roll as a compensatory strategy. These finding suggest that the clinical evaluation of posture during gait in children with CP should be reconsidered.

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