Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. Orthopedic care depends on the appreciation and the identification of muscle tone abnormalities and how they affect growth and development of the child. Abnormal muscle tone is a common diagnostic feature of cerebral palsy and can include hypotonia or hypertonia. Hypertonia is the most frequent tone abnormality in children with cerebral palsy. This article reviews hypertonia and provides information on discriminating between spasticity, dystonia, and rigidity. Medication and neurosurgical options for the management of hypertonia are presented and compared.
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