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Treadmill versus Overground Walking and CP

Clinical Rehabilitation has published research comparing the effects of a 7 week treadmill training or overground walking program for children with cerebral palsy.  There was 36 participants in the study with cerebral palsy levels I-III on the Gross Motor Functional Classification System who were randomly assigned to the treadmill or overground walking group.  They completed a 7 week, 2 sessions per week, program in the physical therapy clinic.  The results indicated the following:

  • both groups showed improvements on the 6 Minute walk test, timed up-and-go test, Pediatric Evaluation Disability Inventory, Gross Motor Function Measure-88, and the Berg Balance Scale. 
  • the treadmill training group showed greater improvements both after treatment and during follow up sessions

The researchers concluded that treadmill training was more effective than training with overground walking with respect to functional mobility, functional performance, gross motor function and functional balance in children with cerebral palsy.

Reference: Grecco LA, Zanon N, Sampaio LM, Oliveira CS. A comparison of treadmill training and overground walking in ambulant children with cerebral palsy: randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Rehabil. 2013 Mar 15. [Epub ahead of print]