The relationship between spasticity in young children (18 months of age) with cerebral palsy and their gross motor function development
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BACKGROUND: It is thought that spasticity has an influence on the development of functional motor abilities among children with cerebral palsy (CP). The extent to which spasticity is associated with the change in motor abilities in young children with CP has not been established. The objective of this study is to evaluate the relationship of initial spasticity in young children with CP and their gross motor function development over one year. METHODS: Fifty children with CP aged 18 months, GMFCS-levels I-V participated in a longitudinal observational study. Change in gross motor functioning (GMFM-66) was measured over one year. The level of spasticity measured at the first assessment was determined with the Modified Tardieu Scale in three muscle groups of the lower extremity (adductor muscles, the hamstrings and the m. gastrocnemius). The Spasticity Total Score per child was calculated with a maximum score of 12 points. RESULTS: Spearman's Rho Correlation (-0.28) revealed a statistically significant relationship (p < 0.05) of small strength between the Spasticity Total Score and the change score of the GMFM-66. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that when measured over one year, spasticity is marginally related to gross motor function development in infants with CP. The initial level of spasticity is only one of the many child, environmental and family factors that determines gross motor development of a young child with CP.
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