What is diplegic cerebral palsy?
Diplegic CP is a type of cerebral palsy that primarily affects two limbs, usually the legs. Sometimes, people with diplegic CP also have mild issues with hand movements. But if the legs are significantly more affected than the arms, then usually a diagnosis of diplegic CP is given. Most people with diplegic CP have spasticity, or spastic diplegic CP, but this is not always the case. Most children with diplegic CP have normal intelligence.
Physical movement differences from diplegic CP are caused by an area of damage to the brain, leading to the wrong signals, or reduced signals, going to the muscles telling them to move.
Our superheroes with diplegic CP love to play all sorts of games in their physio sessions! Sometimes we even get water play out and have a water fight! Our therapists always seem to lose…
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy helps in three main areas in children with diplegic CP, strengthening, lengthening, and function. We also work closely with other professionals, to recommend other interventions such as orthotic devises, tone altering medication and SDR surgery.
Gross motor skills
Improving the gait, or walking pattern, is one of the main goals of physiotherapy in superheroes with diplegic CP, as well as transitions and balance. We work with our clients to enable efficient movement patterns, working with the wider orthotics team when needed, to enable function, socialising and playing!
Strengthening specific muscles, in specific ranges of movement is vital in these superheroes, as well as activating muscles with limited contraction. This usually makes up around 40 per cent of our physiotherapy intervention. But don’t worry, we make our workouts fun! This might be having a teddy bear’s picnic in prone, making a bridge for our cars with toe taps, or having a strength competition with our therapists!
Muscles frequently become tight in children with diplegic CP. We create around-the-clock programmes of sustained and active positioning and stretches for your superhero. We recommend equipment when required, to increase muscle length and aid walking and function. We also carry out active facilitated muscle lengthening stretches during sessions, making up around 40 per cent of intervention, as this has the most evidence for stretching the muscles. When stretches don’t work, sometimes in older children, we recommend paediatrician or orthopaedic interventions, by providing reports and relevant assessments.
Some children with diplegic CP can have shallow hip sockets, meaning their hips are more prone to becoming subluxed. We are constantly developing our active and passive standing programmes, in line with the latest evidence on hip subluxation to aid normal hip development and reduce deformities, and the need for orthopaedic surgery. We take all of our CP superheroes’ range of movement every six months, going above and beyond the Cerebral Palsy Integrated Pathway Scotland’s recommendations. If our conservative approach is not enough, we are experienced in liaising with paediatricians, orthotists and orthopaedics for further intervention.
Function and participation
All of our CP superheroes’ hard work and determination pays off with an increase in function and participation! All of our short-, medium- and long-term goals are aimed at fun, social and family participation. One of our superheroes recently learned to transition from the floor to standing without furniture. He loves using this newfound skill during mainstream football – it’s much quicker than waiting for help! He uses this to help his team score lots more goals. What a superhero!
To find out how we can help your CP superhero, get in touch!