Gait characteristics of children and youth with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy following treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia
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Sensory changes and muscle weakness attributable to chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) are possible sequela of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) which can result in long-lasting difficulties with walking. The purpose of this study was to describe the gait characteristics of children and youth treated for ALL who exhibited CIPN compared to typically developing children and youth using 3D motion analyses and electromyography (EMG). Temporal-spatial, kinematic, kinetic, and electromyographic (EMG) data were collected from 17 youth (mean age 11.2 (5.7) years) with CIPN and compared to data from 10 typically developing youth. Although the gait of the CIPN group was heterogeneous between and within participants, the CIPN group demonstrated primary deviations attributable to CIPN and secondary deviations, both passive effects and active compensatory mechanisms. They had significantly less peak hip extension, knee flexion in loading, dorsiflexion at initial contact, plantarflexion at pre-swing, and dorsiflexion in swing, shorter step lengths, and lower ankle moments and powers than the comparison participants. EMG data from the gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior muscles showed excessive co-activation and atypical firing including out of phase firing of the gastrocnemius in late swing and loading and premature firing of the tibialis anterior in terminal stance. This study, using 3D motion analysis and EMG in youth with CIPN, showed variability in gait suggesting that clinical decision-making should be based on a detailed understanding of individual impairments and associated gait abnormalities.
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