This investigation quantified maximum active resultant joint torques in children with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and nondisabled children. An isokinetic dynamometer rotated the limb (10°/s) while the resultant knee joint torques (both assistive and resistive) during knee extension and flexion in 6 nondisabled children and 26 children with cerebral palsy were recorded. Torque-angle data were processed to calculate maximum values during extension and flexion and work done during the movements. An independent t test determined if significant differences existed between groups (p < .05). Maximum extensor and maximum flexor torques and work during extension and flexion were significantly less for the children with cerebral palsy. Results supported previously published research indicating that children with spastic diplegia were weaker than nondisabled children. Additional information regarding the weakness of the children with spastic diplegia near the end range of extension motion is presented.
The authors are with the Human Performance Laboratory, Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's Hospitals, Washington University School of Medicine, 4555 Forest Park Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63108.