Does acute passive stretching increase muscle length in children with cerebral palsy?

Theis, Nicola ORCID: 0000-0002-0775-1355, Korff, Thomas, Kairon, Harvey and Mohagheghi, Amir A (2013) Does acute passive stretching increase muscle length in children with cerebral palsy? Clinical Biomechanics, 28 (9-10). pp. 1061-1067. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2013.10.001

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Background: Children with spastic cerebral palsy experience increased muscle stiffness and reduced muscle length, which may prevent elongation of the muscle during stretch. Stretching performed either by the clinician, or children themselves is used as a treatment modality to increase/maintain joint range of motion. It is not clear whether the associated increases in muscle–tendon unit length are due to increases in muscle or tendon length. The purpose was to determine whether alterations in ankle range of motion in response to acute stretching were accompanied by increases in muscle length, and whether any effects would be dependent upon stretch technique. Methods: Eight children (6–14 y) with cerebral palsy received a passive dorsiflexion stretch for 5 × 20 s to each leg, which was applied by a physiotherapist or the children themselves. Maximum dorsiflexion angle, medial gastrocnemius muscle and fascicle lengths, and Achilles tendon length were calculated at a reference angle of 10° plantarflexion, and at maximum dorsiflexion in the pre- and post-stretch trials. Findings: All variables were significantly greater during pre- and post-stretch trials compared to the resting angle, and were independent of stretch technique. There was an approximate 10° increase in maximum dorsiflexion post-stretch, and this was accounted for by elongation of both muscle (0.8 cm) and tendon (1.0 cm). Muscle fascicle length increased significantly (0.6cm) from pre- to post-stretch. Interpretation: The results provide evidence that commonly used stretching techniques can increase overall muscle, and fascicle lengths immediately post-stretch in children with cerebral palsy.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RB Pathology
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ125 Physiology of children and adolescents
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ370 Diseases of children and adolescents
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Nicola Theis
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 13:56
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:10

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