Robotic-assisted treadmill therapy improves walking and standing performance in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2010 Nov;14(6):496-502. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 6.


Objective: Task-specific body-weight-supported treadmill therapy improves walking performance in children with central gait impairment. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy on standing and walking performance in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy and to determine parameters influencing outcome.

Methods: 20 Patients (mean age 11.0 ± 5.1, 10 males and 10 females) with cerebral palsy underwent 12 sessions of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy using the driven gait orthosis Lokomat. Outcome measures were the dimensions D (standing) and E (walking) of the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM).

Results: Significant improvements in dimension D by 5.9% (± 5.2, p=0.001) and dimension E by 5.3% (± 5.6, p<0.001) of the GMFM were achieved. Improvements in the GMFM D and E were significantly greater in the mildly affected cohort (GMFCS I and II) compared to the more severely affected cohort (GMFCS III and IV). Improvement of the dimension E but not of D correlated positively with the total distance and time walked during the trial (r(s)=0.748, p<0.001).

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy showed improvements in the functional tasks of standing and walking after a 3-week trial of robotic-assisted treadmill therapy. The severity of motor impairment affects the amount of the achieved improvement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation
  • Child
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Robotics / methods*
  • Walking / physiology*
  • Young Adult