Functional electrical stimulation of the ankle dorsiflexor (DF-FES) may have advantages over ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) in managing pediatric cerebral palsy (CP). This study assessed the functional benefit and orthotic effect of DF-FES in children with hemiplegic CP. We conducted an open-label prospective study on children with hemiplegic CP ≥ 6 years who used DF-FES for five months. The functional benefit was assessed by repeated motor function tests and the measurement of ankle biomechanical parameters. Kinematic and spatiotemporal parameters were assessed by gait analysis after one and five months. The orthotic effect was defined by dorsiflexion ≥ 0° with DF-FES at either the mid or terminal swing. Among 26 eligible patients, 15 (median age 8.2 years, range 6–15.6) completed the study. After five months of DF-FES use, the results on the Community Balance and Mobility Scale improved, and the distance in the Six-Minute Walk Test decreased (six-point median difference, 95% CI (1.89, 8.1), –30 m, 95% CI (−83.67, −2.6), respectively, p < 0.05) compared to baseline. No significant changes were seen in biomechanical and kinematic parameters. Twelve patients (80%) who showed an orthotic effect at the final gait analysis experienced more supported walking over time, with a trend toward slower walking. We conclude that the continuous use of DF–FES increases postural control and may cause slower but more controlled gait.
- cerebral palsy
- functional benefit
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health