Upper Extremity Muscle Strength in Children With Unilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy: A Bilateral Problem?

Koen J. F. M. Dekkers*, Eugene A. A. Rameckers, Rob J. E. M. Smeets, Andrew M. Gordon, Lucianne A. W. M. Speth, Claudio L. Ferre, Yvonne J. M. Janssen-Potten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Objective. The objective was to investigate whether muscle strength in the nonaffected and affected upper extremities (UEs) in children (7-12 years) with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (USCP) differs from that in children with typical development (TD).

Methods. A cross-sectional study design was used. Isometric arm strength (wrist flexion, wrist extension with flexed and extended fingers, elbow flexion/extension) was assessed in 72 children (mean age = 9.3 [SD = 1.9] years) with USCP, and isometric grip/pinch strength was assessed in 86 children (mean age = 9.3 [SD = 1.8] years) with USCP. Arm/grip/pinch strength was assessed in 120 children (mean age = 9.5 [SD = 1.7] years) with TD. Arm strength was measured with a hand-held dynamometer, and grip/pinch strength was measured with a calibrated, modified (digitized) grip dynamometer and a pinch meter. The nonaffected UE of children with USCP was compared with the preferred UE of children with TD because both sides represent the preferred UE. The affected UE was compared with the nonpreferred UE of children with TD, as both sides represent the nonpreferred UE.

Results. In all measurements except for grip strength of the preferred UE, children with USCP were weaker than children with TD.

Conclusions. In children with USCP, muscle strength weakness exists in both UEs.

Impact. When unimanual or bimanual ability limitations are present in children with unilateral cerebral palsy, investigation of the muscle strength of the nonaffected UE should be part of the assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2205-2216
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical Therapy
Volume100
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • MOTOR DEFICITS
  • HAND FUNCTION
  • CONGENITAL HEMIPARESIS
  • STROKE
  • LESIONS
  • LATERALIZATION
  • PERFORMANCE
  • MOVEMENTS
  • SYSTEM
  • MATTER

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