No change in calf muscle passive stiffness after botulinum toxin injection in children with cerebral palsy

Adel A A Alhusaini, Jack Crosbie*, Roberta B. Shepherd, Catherine M. Dean, Adam Scheinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Aim Stiffness and shortening of the calf muscle due to neural or mechanical factors can profoundly affect motor function. The aim of this study was to investigate non-neurally mediated calf-muscle tightness in children with cerebral palsy (CP) before and after botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) injection. Method Sixteen children with spastic CP (seven females, nine males; eight at Gross Motor Function Classification System level I, eight at level II; age range 4-10y) and calf muscle spasticity were tested before and during the pharmaceutically active phase after injection of BoNT-A. Measures of passive muscle compliance and viscoelastic responses, hysteresis, and the gradient of the torque-angle curve were computed and compared before and after injection. Results Although there was a slight, but significant increase in ankle range of motion after BoNT-A injection and a small, significant decrease in the torque required to achieve plantigrade and 5° of dorsiflexion, no significant difference in myotendinous stiffness or hysteresis were detected after BoNT-A injection. Interpretation Despite any effect on neurally mediated responses, the compliance of the calf muscle was not changed and the muscle continued to offer significant resistance to passive motion of the ankle. These findings suggest that additional treatment approaches are required to supplement the effects of BoNT-A injections when managing children with calf muscle spasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-558
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


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