Objective: To compare botulinum toxin A injections with fixed plaster cast stretching in the management of cerebral palsied children with dynamic (i.e. non-fixed) calf tightness.
Methods: The settings were the Women's and Children's Hospital (WCH) and the Crippled Children's Association of South Australia (CCA), Adelaide, South Australia. Twenty children were selected by two paediatric rehabilitation specialists. A prospective, randomized, single-blind controlled study, was carried out, with 10 children in each arm. The clinicians were blinded as to the allocated interventions. The outcome measures for 6 months post intervention were clinical assessment, modified Ashworth Scale, Gross Motor Function Measure, 2 D-video ratings using a modified Physical Rating Scale and a global scoring scale and a parent satisfaction questionnaire.
Results and conclusion: Botulinum toxin A injections were of similar efficacy to serial fixed plaster casting in improving dynamic calf tightness in ambulant or partially ambulant children with cerebral palsy. The ease of outpatient administration, reduction of muscle tone and safety with botulinum toxin A was confirmed. Parents consistently favoured botulinum toxin A and highlighted the inconvenience of serial casting.