View original article here: Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Interventions to Improve Gait Speed in Children With Cerebral Palsy: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

take home message: Gait training was most effective in improving gait. Strength training did not have an effect on gait speed.


Background Children with cerebral palsy (CP) have decreased gait speeds, which can negatively affect their community participation and quality of life. However, evidence for effective rehabilitation interventions to improve gait speed remains unclear.

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of interventions for improving gait speed in ambulatory children with CP.

Data Sources MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, ERIC, and PEDro were searched from inception through April 2014.

Study Selection The selected studies were randomized controlled trials or had experimental designs with a comparison group, included a physical therapy or rehabilitation intervention for children with CP, and reported gait speed as an outcome measure.

Data Extraction Methodological quality was assessed by PEDro scores. Means, standard deviations, and change scores for gait speed were extracted. General study information and dosing parameters (frequency, duration, intensity, and volume) of the intervention were recorded.

Data Synthesis Twenty-four studies were included. Three categories of interventions were identified: gait training (n=8), resistance training (n=9), and miscellaneous (n=7). Meta-analysis showed that gait training was effective in increasing gait speed, with a standardized effect size of 0.92 (95% confidence interval=0.19, 1.66; P=.01), whereas resistance training was shown to have a negligible effect (effect size=0.06; 95% confidence interval=−0.12, 0.25; P=.51). Effect sizes from negative to large were reported for studies in the miscellaneous category.

Limitations Gait speed was the only outcome measure analyzed.

Conclusions Gait training was the most effective intervention in improving gait speed for ambulatory children with CP. Strength training, even if properly dosed, was not shown to be effective in improving gait speed. Velocity training, electromyographic biofeedback training, and whole-body vibration were effective in improving gait speed in individual studies and warrant further investigation.

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