Ankle Movements During Supine Kicking in Infants Born Preterm

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Knowledge of musculoskeletal factors that influence supine kicking of infants born preterm has implications for early intervention.


Differences exist between infants born preterm and full-term in ankle kinematics during supine kicking, which are attributable to passive measures of the gastrocnemius/soleus (g/s) muscle tendon unit (MTU).


Twenty infants born full-term and 22 born preterm were measured at term, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks of age.

Outcome Measures:

Ankle kinematics during supine kicking and g/s MTU length.


Infants born preterm demonstrated less dorsiflexion, more plantar flexion, and more total ankle range during supine kicking. Gestational age explained 69% to 85% of the variability in MTU length from term to 12 weeks of age. MTU lengths explained 0% to 42% of the variance in ankle kinematics.


Passive measures of the g/s MTU may inform clinicians about ankle kinematics in newborns to 12-week infants during supine kicking.

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