Background: Within the last several years, studies have shown therapeutic garments to effectively improve upper and lower extremity function in patients with cerebral palsy.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to further investigate a relatively new type of therapeutic garment called TheraTogs™ and its effectiveness on the gait pattern and function of a child with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.
Methods: A single subject design (ABA withdrawal) was conducted with a 7 year old female with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. The intervention of TheraTogs™ was worn for 6 consecutive hours everyday for 3 weeks. Gait parameters (cadence, velocity, stride length, degrees of toe in/out) were assessed using the GAITRite® system. Function was assessed with the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM). Data was analyzed using the two-standard deviation band method.
Results: Statistically significant changes were made in the gait parameters of cadence, velocity, right toe-in/out either during the intervention or carryover phases. However, no statistically significant changes were made in the gait parameters of stride length or left toe-in/out. A decrease in the percentage of the standard deviation between the baseline and intervention phases and the baseline and carryover phases was found in all the gait parameters except for right toe in/out, indicating a decrease in the subject's gait variability over the course of the study. The subject increased her GMFM scores between the baseline and carryover phases in standing from 85% to 92% and in walking, running and jumping from 81 % to 86 %.
Discussion and Conclusion: The data illustrated that the therapeutic garment had statistically significant effects in the areas of cadence, velocity and right toe-in/out and reduced the amount of variability in this subject' s gait in all the gait parameters tested. Through clinical observation, the garment limited the amount of excessive lateral trunk movement, decreased toe-in on the right foot, and increased heel strike, resulting in a more consistent gait pattern. The continuation of studies involving therapeutic garments will help to establish this technique as an evidence based intervention for improving gait patterns and functional skills.
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