Impaired gait function in adults with cerebral palsy is associated with reduced rapid force generation and increased passive stiffness

Clinical Neurophysiology, Elsevier, ISSN 1388-2457

Volume 126, 12, 2015

DOI:10.1016/j.clinph.2015.02.005, Dimensions: pub.1031822245, PMID: 25757398,


Kirk, Henrik (1) (2)

* Corresponding author



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
  2. (2) Helene Elsass Center, Charlottenlund, Denmark






OBJECTIVE: It is still not clarified whether spasticity contributes to impairments of gait function. Here we compared biomechanical measures of muscle weakness and stiffness of ankle muscles to impairments of gait function in adults with cerebral palsy (CP). METHODS: Twenty-four adults with CP (mean age 34.3, range 18-57 years) and fifteen healthy age-matched controls were biomechanically measured for passive and reflex-mediated stiffness of the ankle plantarflexors at rest, maximal voluntary plantarflexion and dorsiflexion effort (MVCpf,df) and rate of force development (RFDpf,df). Kinematic analysis of the ankle joint during treadmill walking was obtained by 3-D motion analysis. RESULTS: Passive stiffness was significantly increased in adults with CP compared to controls. Passive stiffness and RFDdf were correlated to reduced toe lift. RFDpf provided the best correlation to push-off velocity, range of movement in the ankle joint and gait speed. Reflex-mediated stiffness was not correlated to any parameters of impaired gait. CONCLUSIONS: Impaired gait function in adults with CP is associated with reduced RFD and increased passive stiffness of ankle muscles. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that reduced rapid force generation and increased passive stiffness of ankle muscles rather than increased reflex-mediated stiffness (spasticity) likely contributes to impaired gait function in adults with CP.


Research Categories

Main Subject Area

Fields of Research

Links & Metrics

NORA University Profiles

University of Copenhagen

Danish Open Access Indicator

2015: Unused

Research area: Science & Technology

Danish Bibliometrics Indicator

2015: Level 1

Research area: Science & Technology

Dimensions Citation Indicators

Times Cited: 28

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 22.94

Relative Citation ratio (RCR): 2.83