Classification of sagittal gait patterns in unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (CP) provides direct implication for treatment. Five types are described: type 0 has minor gait deviation; type 1 has inadequate ankle dorsiflexion in swing; type 2 has inadequate ankle dorsiflexion throughout the gait cycle; types 3 and 4 have abnormal function of the knee and hip joint respectively. During gait analysis of children with unilateral spastic CP we observed frequently that a knee flexion deficit disappeared during running. That may have an impact on classification and treatment.
Does the classification type change while running and how do patients’ kinematics adapt to running?
64 children with unilateral spastic CP were classified using instrumented gait analysis for walking and running. The deviation of four parameters from typically developing children (TD) were used to distinguish between types: peak ankle dorsiflexion in swing for type 1, peak ankle dorsiflexion in stance for type 2, knee range of motion for type 3, and hip range of motion for type 4. A three-factor ANOVA for factors group (CP/TD), locomotion (walk/run) and limb side (in-/uninvolved) was conducted.
The number of patients with type 1, 3 and 4 decreased considerably from walking to running, whereas, the number of type 0 and 2 patients increased. The ANOVA showed that three of four parameters of patients’ pathologic limb adapt similarly to TD to running, except for the ankle dorsiflexion in stance.
Running shows that there is a natural way to resolve abnormalities. Therefore, recommended treatments of hip and knee joint abnormalities based on the walking classification can be questioned and additional running analysis may be important for surgical decision making.