Cerebral Palsy and Gait: A Focused Look at Spasticity and Management with Botulinum Toxin Type A
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The hopes and expectations of parents may be disrupted by their child's abnormal motor development. Particularly in the area of walking, disabilities can lead to physical as well as psychosocial detriments. A common diagnosis in disabled children is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a collection of motor disorders involving a static injury to the premature brain. One of the most prevalent neuromotor disorders among children, CP affects 1.5 to 2.5 per 1000 live births, with medical technology actually increasing the rate of cerebral palsy in the United States. Although relatively common in society, little is known of the risks of these disorders and thus, prevention is currently impossible. Without a viable means of preventing CP, emphasis on treatment and management is of utmost import. Treatment of gait abnormalities is the main focus of many therapeutic strategies, as a restoration to normalcy can improve the child's physical capabilities as well as psychological interactions. Dysfunction in walking is frequently the result of spasticity (high muscle tone) in cerebral palsy. Recent research focuses on reducing spasticity by use of motor point blocks. Botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) is the latest motor block to be examined and has been shown to drastically improve spasticity and gait in children with CP. Although BTX-A is only approved in some realms, it is the hope of physiatrists that increasingly widespread use will reduce, if not fully negate, the effects of the neuromotor disorders that are cerebral palsy.