From the Sensory Motor Performance Program, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, Illinois (MW, JK, PA, DJG-S, YZ); and Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois (MW).
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ObjectiveThe aim of the study was to determine whether applying an assistance force to the pelvis and legs during treadmill training can improve walking function in children with cerebral palsy.DesignTwenty-three children with cerebral palsy were randomly assigned to the robotic or treadmill only group. For participants who were assigned to the robotic group, a controlled force was applied to the pelvis and legs during treadmill walking. For participants who were assigned to the treadmill only group, manual assistance was provided as needed. Each participant trained 3 times/wk for 6 wks. Outcome measures included walking speed, 6-min walking distance, and clinical assessment of motor function, which were evaluated before, after training, and 8 wks after the end of training, and were compared between two groups.ResultsSignificant increases in walking speed and 6-min walking distance were observed after robotic training (P = 0.03), but no significant change was observed after treadmill training only. A greater increase in 6-min walking distance was observed after robotic training than that after treadmill only training (P = 0.01).ConclusionsApplying a controlled force to the pelvis and legs, for facilitating weight-shift and leg swing, respectively, during treadmill training may improve walking speed and endurance in children with cerebral palsy.To Claim CME CreditsComplete the self-assessment activity and evaluation online at http://www.physiatry.org/JournalCMECME ObjectivesUpon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) discuss the importance of physical activity at the participation level (sports programs) for children with cerebral palsy; (2) contrast the changes in walking ability and endurance for children in GMFCS level I, II and III following sports programs; and (3) identify the impact of higher frequency of sports program attendance over time on walking ability.LevelAdvancedAccreditationThe Association of Academic Physiatrists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.The Association of Academic Physiatrists designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.