Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Orthotic Management

Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Orthotic Management

Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Orthotic Management Many Orthopedic Aids and Orthoses can Help a Child with CP

Since CP always includes challenges involving balance, mobility and coordination, many children with CP have extreme difficulty with walking, sitting upright, standing, and holding themselves in a stable posture. These challenges can be the result of muscles that behave and develop abnormally. The abnormal development and atrophy of muscles can also lead to secondary impairments. Since skeletal growth can be severely impacted by these muscle abnormalities, many children with CP develop deformities due to the irregular relationship between muscle development and skeletal growth.

Many devices have been developed to help children with these struggles including equipment used for orthotic management. Orthotic devices can be used to stabilize feet, legs, ankles, hands, arms and even the abdomen to aid with support and posture. Splints and braces are some of the most common orthoses and are often worn on the legs, the feet or the arms to help a child achieve better mobility. Some devices have been developed to prevent certain movements or arrest particular developments that can lead to deformities or other long-term challenges. Finally, this type of equipment can also be used to help muscles develop properly. Some of the goals that orthotic management is designed to achieve include

The devices are sometimes made to aid in stability but are also used to encourage certain physical developments. They are made from many different materials including metal, plastic, and leather. Though some such aids can be purchased over-the-counter, most are more effective if they are custom made for the individual user to help with their particular challenges.

Limitations of Orthotic Management

While the use of such devices can provide definite benefits, the equipment used must be specifically made for the individual child and it must be made of the highest-quality materials. As a child's body develops and grows, the need for different orthopedic equipment and support will also become necessary. Furthermore, some of the devices can be uncomfortable even when they are properly fitted and engineered. Though the stretching or strengthening may have long-term benefits, the use of orthotic management may lead to the need for increased pain management.

Additionally, finding the right balance between affecting body structure and overcoming activity limitations can be challenging. Trying to prevent certain developments can also, inadvertently, add to activity limitations. The right experts must be called upon to find this balance.

Children with CP have unique challenges that require specialized attention. These are in addition to many of the same challenges that any child experiences as they learn to control their bodies, roll onto and off of their stomachs, sit upright, crawl and walk. As a result of the unique struggles that CP presents, experts must be called upon to recommend and assist in the use of the right resources. Such experts will be essential through the child's development as they mature into adults since CP cannot be cured.