Cerebral Palsy Walking

Cerebral Palsy is neurological condition that affects the physical development of an individual. There are different types of Cerebral Palsy but the most common part of the body that is affected is the legs and arms. Thus, it affects the capability of the person to walk and eat properly.

Diplegia is a type of Cerebral Palsy that affects the legs of an individual. Difficulty with balanced and coordination is the main problem with Diplegia. Diplegic children are usually premature babies and have respiratory complications. Due to spasticity and delayed growth of their muscles, their legs are short and their joints are stiff. As a result the range of motion of the child decreases. Normally, they will encounter problem with their feet and ankles and hips become dislocated. At the age of two, a regular and close examination is recommended to prevent possible complications such as spastic hip disease. The child may be at risk due to hip dislocation and eventually it will cause pain and arthritis. The gradual dislocation of the hip is called subluxation and X-rays can detect it.

Sadly, Diplegia is a kind of Cerebral Palsy that isn’t detected easily. Signs and symptoms may show like stiffness of lower extremities and floppiness of limbs but not identified immediately. It is diagnosed as motor movement problem. Diplegia is normally noticed between ages one to three, if the child has problem with walking. When a chils reaches one and appears to have leg problem such as tightness, gently stretch the leg and continuously exercise his/her legs. Though it is not easy and will definitely bring discomfort to the child, it will be beneficial for his/her development.

A diplegic child normally tries to walk at the age of 2 and 4. As he/she tries to explore the area they will slowly learn. Some starts walking as late as 8 years old.

If at the age of two and half, the child doesn’t have the strength to stand, a standing program should be initiated. Prone type standers and ankle-foot braces may be helpful. If a child can stand for one to two hours a day, greater chance that he/she can walk eventually.

The recommended period to conduct therapy is between four to six years old. Child will actually find it hard to tolerate but it is needed for their improvement, normally it takes five half-hour sessions every week. It is important to put into consideration that parent should not push their child too much.

For a child who has minor case of Diplegia, a replacement therapy is possible like dancing, swimming, horseback riding or even karate. It is good exercise because it will arouse the interest of the child and will keep him/her active. While for severe case of Diplegia, there are instances that the child will not walk until he/she reaches seven or eight years old. Some can walk but only few distances. The factors that could affect the ability of the child to walk are the following; difficulty with balance, lack of muscle coordination and spasticity. There are remedies though like surgery. It helps improve the balance with opposing muscles. If possible, it is still best to minimize the number of surgeries. It is advisable to perform an operation to a child at the age that he/she will understand why it has to be done.

Parents have a tendency to focus on the child’s disability but it is important to know that most Diplegic children can eventually walk. Aside from that, the child should be healthy. The child’s environment has a vital role in his development. Exposure to the surroundings may help in stimulating his/her desire to walk.

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