Objective: To examine the effect of treadmill training with body weight support (TBWS) on gait and gross motor function in children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP).
Design: Eight children with spastic CP participated in the study. Their temporal-distance gait parameters, Gross Motor Function Measure, muscle tone, and selective motor control were assessed three times: two times under their regular therapeutic treatment (condition A), and one time after receiving the TBWS treatment in addition to their regular therapeutic treatments (condition B). There were two treatment schedules, AAB and ABA. Except for the first one (taken at study entry), the assessments were always taken after 12 wks of treatment. The children were equally divided into two groups and randomly assigned to the two schedules. The two groups were matched according to category of the Gross Motor Function Classification System.
Results: The TBWS treatment significantly improved the children's gait (increases in stride length and decreases in double-limb support percentage of gait cycle) and their Gross Motor Function Measure (dimension D and E scores as well as the total score). No significant improvements on muscle tone or selective motor control were noted.
Conclusions: The TBWS treatment improved some gait parameters and gross motor functions in children with spastic CP.