BACKGROUND: Stiff gait resulting from rectus femoris dysfunction in cerebral palsy commonly is treated by distal rectus femoris transfer (DRFT), but varying outcomes have been reported. Proximal rectus femoris release was found to be less effective compared with DRFT. No study to our knowledge has investigated the effects of the combination of both procedures on gait. QUESTIONS/PURPOSES: We sought to determine whether an additional proximal rectus release affects knee and pelvic kinematics when done in combination with DRFT; specifically, we sought to compare outcomes using the (1) range of knee flexion in swing phase, (2) knee flexion velocity and (3) peak knee flexion in swing phase, and (4) spatiotemporal parameters between patients treated with DRFT, with or without proximal rectus release. Furthermore the effects on (5) anterior pelvic tilt in both groups were compared. METHODS: Twenty patients with spastic bilateral cerebral palsy treated with DRFT and proximal rectus femoris release were matched with 20 patients in whom only DRFT was performed. Standardized three-dimensional gait analysis was done before surgery, at 1 year after surgery, and at a mean of 9 years after surgery. Basic statistics were done to compare the outcome of both groups. RESULTS: The peak knee flexion in swing was slightly increased in both groups 1 year after surgery, but was not different between groups. Although there was a slight but not significant decrease found the group with DRFT only, there was no significant difference at long-term followup between the groups. Timing of peak knee flexion, range of knee flexion, and knee flexion velocity improved significantly in both groups, and in both groups a slight deterioration was seen with time; there were no differences in these parameters between the groups at any point, however. There were no group differences in spatiotemporal parameters at any time. There were no significant differences in the long-term development of anterior pelvic tilt between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study indicate that the short- and long-term influences of adding proximal rectus femoris release on the kinematic effects of DRFT and on pelvic tilt in children with cerebral palsy are negligible. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level III, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the outcome of children with cerebral palsy following reposition of the distal rectus femoris tendon for treatment of stiff knee gait.
Children with cerebral palsy with stiff knee gait who underwent rectus femoris transfer were studied retrospectively. Inclusion criteria were cerebral palsy of diplegic or quadriplegic type, preoperative and 1 year postoperative three-dimensional motion analysis, and no other surgery except rectus femoris transfer at the time of study. The patients were separated into two groups: in group I, the rectus femoris was transferred to the distal medial hamstring tendons, either the gracilis or the semitendinosus; in group II, the distal tendon of the rectus femoris was transposed laterally and attached to the iliotibial band/intermuscular septum.
Peak knee flexion during swing phase, total dynamic knee range of motion, knee range of motion during swing phase, and time to peak knee flexion during swing phase were all improved in both groups. Hip and pelvic kinematics were not influenced by the surgery. Velocity, stride length, and cadence were all improved following the surgery. There was no difference between the transfer group and the transposition group.
These findings suggest that distal transfer of the rectus femoris is effective in improving swing phase knee function by diminishing the mechanical effect of the dysphasic swing phase activity of the rectus femoris, not by converting the rectus femoris to an active knee flexor.
Journal of Children s Orthopaedics 04/2007; 1(1):37-41. DOI:10.1007/s11832-006-0002-4
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diminished knee flexion associated with stiff-knee gait, a movement abnormality commonly observed in persons with cerebral palsy, is thought to be caused by an over-active rectus femoris muscle producing an excessive knee extension moment during the swing phase of gait. As a result, treatment for stiff-knee gait is aimed at altering swing-phase muscle function. Unfortunately, this treatment strategy does not consistently result in improved knee flexion. We believe this is because multiple factors contribute to stiff-knee gait. Specifically, we hypothesize that many individuals with stiff-knee gait exhibit diminished knee flexion not because they have an excessive knee extension moment during swing, but because they walk with insufficient knee flexion velocity at toe-off. We measured the knee flexion velocity at toe-off and computed the average knee extension moment from toe-off to peak flexion in 17 subjects (18 limbs) with stiff-knee gait and 15 subjects (15 limbs) without movement abnormalities. We used forward dynamic simulation to determine how adjusting each stiff-knee subject's knee flexion velocity at toe-off to normal levels would affect knee flexion during swing. We found that only one of the 18 stiff-knee limbs exhibited an average knee extension moment from toe-off to peak flexion that was larger than normal. However, 15 of the 18 limbs exhibited a knee flexion velocity at toe-off that was below normal. Simulating an increase in the knee flexion velocity at toe-off to normal levels resulted in a normal or greater than normal range of knee flexion for each of these limbs. These results suggest that the diminished knee flexion of many persons with stiff-knee gait may be caused by abnormally low knee flexion velocity at toe-off as opposed to excessive knee extension moments during swing.
Journal of Biomechanics 09/2003; 36(8):1111-6. DOI:10.1016/S0021-9290(03)00106-4 · 2.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stiff-knee gait is a movement abnormality in which knee flexion during swing phase is significantly diminished. This study investigates the relationships between knee flexion velocity at toe-off, joint moments during swing phase and double support, and improvements in stiff-knee gait following rectus femoris transfer surgery in subjects with cerebral palsy. Forty subjects who underwent a rectus femoris transfer were categorized as "stiff" or "not-stiff" preoperatively based on kinematic measures of knee motion during walking. Subjects classified as stiff were further categorized as having "good" or "poor" outcomes based on whether their swing-phase knee flexion improved substantially after surgery. We hypothesized that subjects with stiff-knee gait would exhibit abnormal joint moments in swing phase and/or diminished knee flexion velocity at toe-off, and that subjects with diminished knee flexion velocity at toe-off would exhibit abnormal joint moments during double support. We further hypothesized that subjects classified as having a good outcome would exhibit postoperative improvements in these factors. Subjects classified as stiff tended to exhibit abnormally low knee flexion velocities at toe-off (p<0.001) and excessive knee extension moments during double support (p=0.001). Subjects in the good outcome group on average showed substantial improvement in these factors postoperatively. All eight subjects in this group walked with normal knee flexion velocity at toe-off postoperatively and only two walked with excessive knee extension moments in double support. By contrast, all 10 of the poor outcome subjects walked with low knee flexion velocity at toe-off postoperatively and seven walked with excessive knee extension moments in double support. Our analyses suggest that improvements in stiff-knee gait are associated with sufficient increases in knee flexion velocity at toe-off and corresponding decreases in excessive knee extension moments during double support. Therefore, while stiff-knee gait manifests during the swing phase of the gait cycle, it may be caused by abnormal muscle activity during stance.
Journal of Biomechanics 01/2006; 39(4):689-98. DOI:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2005.01.015 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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