Effects of intensive locomotor treadmill training on young children with cerebral palsy

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2009 Winter;21(4):308-18. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181bf53d9.


Purpose: To examine whether an intensive, short-term locomotor treadmill training program helps children with cerebral palsy (CP) younger than 4 years of age improve their gross motor skills related to ambulation, walking speed, and endurance.

Methods: Six children with cerebral palsy, ages 2.5 to 3.9 years, participated in treadmill training 3 times per week for 1-hour sessions consisting of 2 individualized treadmill walks, for 4 weeks, and were tested before and after the intervention and at a 1-month follow-up. The outcome measures included the Gross Motor Function Measure-66, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory, a timed 10-m walk test, and a 6-minute walk test.

Results: Significant differences were found in the Gross Motor Function Measure-66 Dimensions D and E, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory Mobility Scales, over-ground walking speed, and walking distance.

Conclusions: The results of this study provide preliminary evidence that children with CP younger than 4 years of age can improve their gross motor function, walking speed, and walking endurance after intensive locomotor treadmill training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Exercise Test*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Postural Balance
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking*