Background: Hip dislocation in children with cerebral palsy has a well-documented history and morbidity.
Objective: This paper presents a retrospective study of children with bilateral cerebral palsy who had various postural management and its effect on hip deformity. The most widely accepted theoretical model of hip subluxation/dislocation is that an imbalance in muscle length and strength around the hip leads to acetabular dysplasia and consequent hip subluxation. Maintenance of muscle length and strength and loadbearing is therefore a logical prevention. Research on normal infants' postures has provided biomechanical data to form the theoretical basis of 24 h postural management equipment.
Methods: The notes and X-rays of 59 children with bilateral cerebral palsy from East and West Sussex and Oxfordshire were examined and measured to determine whether a relationship existed between postural management and the level of hip subluxation/dislocation. X-rays were measured using Reimers' hip migration percentage. Postural management support was divided into three groups for analysis. Category 1: use of a 24-h postural management approach using Chailey Adjustable Postural Support (CAPS) systems in lying, sitting and standing; category 2: two items of CAPS (either lying/sitting or sitting/standing supports); category 3: use of the CAPS seat only and/or any other postural supports. Hip status was recorded for analysis as both hips safe (under 33% migrated), or one/both hips subluxed.
Results: Children using 'All CAPS' before hip subluxation maintained significantly more hip integrity than other groups (chi2 P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Postural management interventions have an important role in the prevention of hip dysplasia.