Objective: The study investigated associations between the active and passive mechanical properties of the calf muscle in children with cerebral palsy and the spatiotemporal features of their gait on both level ground and over stairs. Methods: 26 children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (age 4 10 years) walked barefoot across a level ten metre pathway and a staircase. Walking speed, stride length and cadence were calculated and spasticity, maximum isometric strength, stiffness and hysteresis of the affected side calf muscle measured. Multiple linear regression was used to determine the associations among variables. Results: Walking speed and stride length were significantly associated with dorsiflexor muscle strength and the stiffness of the calf muscle, while stair ascent and descent speeds were significantly and inversely related to the amount of hysteresis displayed by the calf muscle. Conclusion: Passive mechanical properties of the calf muscle are influential in gait performance in these children.
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscle stiffness