Cerebral palsy (in short CP) is the collective term for posture and movement disorders resulting from an early childhood brain damage. Other terms are infantile cerebral palsy or infantile brain palsy. Cerebral palsy is permanent but changes with the child growing and developing. An exact definition of the term is difficult as there is no generally applicable clinical picture.
The main characteristic of cerebral palsy is the impaired motor function. Since areas of the brain that control movement are damaged, the muscles cannot work together in a coordinated manner. Affected persons show uncontrolled, spasmodic, jerky or discordant movements. Furthermore, sensory, perceptual, communicative and other disorders may occur.
Damages occur during pregnancy, birth or within the child's first year. Possible causes are illnesses of the mother, oxygen deficiency during birth or severe illnesses of the child during its first months.
Patients with cerebral palsy have an abnormal (pathological) gait. Muscle groups do not work harmoniously and paralyses restrict movements. An orthosis supports when walking and stabilises when standing. Depending on requirements and adjustments, an orthosis provides the following functions:
- muscle activation
- function improvement
- posture correction
- foot lifting
- regulation of muscle tension (muscle tone)
Due to the complex clinical picture, there is no universal treatment. Besides, most patients are in their growing and developing phase. A constant adjustment to current conditions is therefore necessary. Physicians, physiotherapists and orthotists have a common goal, which must be pursued together. Connecting different special fields provides a good basis for a successful treatment.
The CP Guide with its “concept for the orthotic treatment of the lower extremity in cerebral palsy” aims at building a bridge between all parties involved. This includes patients and relatives as well as physicians, orthotists and physio- and occupational therapists. The guide contains an overview of the different gait types according to the Amsterdam Gait Classification. A treatment suggestion is presented for each gait type and the effect of the orthosis is described.
Click here to download the CP Guide free of charge and to learn more about the topic of cerebral palsy and the treatment with an orthosis. Upon request, we will gladly send you a printed copy.
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