Optimization of walking ability of children with cerebral palsy.

Jon Davids, Sylvia Ounpuu, Peter A. DeLuca, Roy B. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


A new paradigm based on an appreciation of the biomechanics of normal and pathologic gait and a better understanding of muscle-tendon unit anatomy and physiology has emerged for orthopaedic clinical decision making to optimize the ambulatory abilities of children with cerebral palsy. This quantitative, biomechanically based approach has been accepted as a research and teaching tool and as an instrument of outcome assessment; however, controversy remains concerning the expense of using this approach and about its accuracy and repeatability. This paradigm is used within a diagnostic matrix consisting of five data sources. Members of the clinical and technical teams from the motion analysis laboratory interpret data from the clinical history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, quantitative gait analysis, and examination under anesthesia. The certainty of intervention selection is proportional to the consistency of the data within the diagnostic matrix. When inconsistencies in the data exist, input from both the clinical and technical teams is needed to resolve discrepancies. Working within the framework of the diagnostic matrix, it is possible to identify the indications used in the selection and recommendation of musculoskeletal surgical interventions to optimize gait in children with cerebral palsy. It is important to examine indications and controversies for surgical intervention related to iliopsoas recession, femoral rotational osteotomy, medial hamstring lengthening, rectus femoris transfer, and gastrocnemius recession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalInstructional course lectures
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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