Effects of Antigravity Treadmill Training on Gait, Balance, and Fall Risk in Children With Diplegic Cerebral Palsy

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of antigravity treadmill training on gait, balance, and fall risk in children with diplegic cerebral palsy.

Design

Thirty children with diplegic cerebral palsy were selected for this randomized controlled study. They were randomly assigned to (1) an experimental group that received antigravity treadmill training (20 mins/d, 3 d/wk) together with traditional physical therapy for 3 successive mos and (2) a control group that received only traditional physical therapy program for the same period. Outcomes included selected gait parameters, postural stability, and fall risk. Outcomes were measured at baseline and after 3 mos of intervention.

Results

Children in both groups showed significant improvements in the mean values of all measured variables (P < 0.05), with significantly greater improvements in the experimental group than the control group. The posttreatment gait parameters (i.e., velocity, stride length, cadence, and percent of time spent in double-limb support) were 0.74 m/sec, 119 steps/min, 0.75 m/sec, 0.65 sec, and 55.9% as well as 0.5 m, 125 steps/min, 0.6 m/sec, 0.49 sec, and 50.4% for the experimental and control group, respectively.

Conclusions

Antigravity treadmill training may be a useful tool for improving gait parameters, balance, and fall risk in children with diplegic cerebral palsy.

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