Walking function, pain, and fatigue in adults with cerebral palsy: a 7-year follow-up study

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 May;51(5):381-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03250.x. Epub 2008 Feb 3.


Aim: To compare walking function, pain, and fatigue in adults with cerebral palsy (CP) 7 years after an initial survey.

Method: A multidimensional questionnaire was mailed to 226 people with unilateral (hemiplegic) or bilateral (diplegic) spastic CP who had participated in a 1999 survey. People with additional diagnoses were excluded. Special emphasis was placed on participants with deterioration in walking. The questionnaire was the same as in 1999.

Results: One hundred and forty-nine participants (76 males, 73 females; mean age 40y 5mo, SD 10y 7mo, range 24-76y) with a diagnosis of unilateral (n=81) or bilateral (n=68) spastic CP responded. Fifty-two per cent of all participants reported deterioration in walking function since debut of walking, compared with 39% 7 years previously. In participants with bilateral CP, 71% reported deteriorated walking, compared with 37% of participants with unilateral CP. Participants with deteriorated walking function had greater pain frequency, pain intensity, impact of pain on daily activities, and physical fatigue and reduced balance. The number of people reporting overall mobility problems was almost double compared with 7 years previously.

Interpretation: The main finding was an increased prevalence of deteriorated walking, significantly associated with bilateral spastic CP, pain, fatigue, and reduced balance. Rehabilitation programmes addressing these areas are needed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking*