Postural balance in children with cerebral palsy

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2002 Jan;44(1):58-63. doi: 10.1017/s0012162201001669.


Postural control deficits have been suggested to be a major component of gait disorders in cerebral palsy (CP). Standing balance was investigated in 23 ambulatory children and adolescents with spastic diplegic CP, ages 5 to 18 years, and compared with values of 92 children without disability, ages 5 to 18 years, while they stood on a force plate with eyes open or eyes closed. The measurements included center of pressure calculations of path length per second, average radial displacement, mean frequency of sway, and Brownian random motion measures of the short-term diffusion coefficient, and the long-term scaling exponent. In the majority of children with CP (14 of 23) all standing balance values were normal. However, approximately one-third of the children with CP (eight of 23) had abnormal values in at least two of the six center of pressure measures. Thus, mean values for path length, average radial displacement, and diffusion coefficient were higher for participants with CP compared with control individuals with eyes open and closed (p<0.05). Mean values for frequency of sway and the long-term scaling exponent were lower for participants with CP compared with control participants (p<0.05). Increased average radial displacement was the most common (nine of 23) postural control deficit. There was no increase in abnormal values with eyes closed compared with eyes open for participants with CP, indicating that most participants with CP had normal dependence on visual feedback to maintain balance. Identification of those children with impaired standing balance can delineate factors that contribute to the patient's gait disorder and help to guide treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disabled Children*
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture*
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Perception
  • Walking