Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (in short CP) is the collective term for posture and movement disorders resulting from an early childhood brain damage. Other terms are e.g. 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.

What are the Signs of Cerebral Palsy?

The main characteristic is the impaired motor function. Brain areas responsible for movement are damaged, therefore it is not possible for muscles to work together harmoniously.

Movements of persons affected are uncontrolled and lacking of coordination. Furthermore, sensory, perceptual, communicational or other impairments are possible.

Causes for Cerebral Palsy

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.

Why an Orthosis Helps

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
  • Dorsiflexion assist
  • Muscle tone regulation

Due to the complex clinical picture, there is no generally applicable treatment. What is more, the patients are mostly in their growing and developing phase. This means, a constant adjustment to current conditions is necessary.

Physicians, physiotherapists and orthotists have a common goal which has to be pursued together. Connecting different special fields provides a good basis for a successful treatment.

Treatment Concept Cerebral Palsy

The CP Guide "A Concept for the Orthotic Treatment of Gait Problems in Cerebral Palsy" is supposed to build a bridge between all people involved. This includes patient and relatives as well as physicians, orthopaedic technicians, occupational and physiotherapists.

Here you will find an overview of the different gait types according to the Amsterdam Gait Classification. For each gait type, a treatment suggestion is described as well as the effects of the orthosis.