Progressive resistive exercises have been shown to increase strength in individuals with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. Researchers have found no evidence supporting the assumption that resistance increases spasticity. Correlations have been found between strength gains and improved quality of gait patterns. Efficient gait patterns serve to maximize quality of life and independence; hence, it is important to promote functional outcome based treatments.
This purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a progressive resistive exercise (PRE) program into terminal knee extension upon the terminal swing phase of gait in individuals with spastic diplegia. This study utilized a single subject A-B-A design with two subjects. Strength measurements were assessed using one repetition maximum (l-RM). Hip, knee, and ankle angle changes during terminal swing were assessed using the Peak PerformanceTM 3-D motion analysis system. Terminal knee extension strength increases for both subjects were statistically significant. Carryover of strength gains into a decrease in the crouched gait pattern in the terminal swing phase of gait was not significant for either subject. Further research is needed to investigate the impact of PREs and its possible beneficial relationship to gait parameters for this subject population.
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