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Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition manifesting with delayed motor development (abnormal movement and posture). It is categorized by its geographic distribution (the number of limbs involved) and the underlying tone present (e.g. spasticity). Though this primarily affects the musculoskeletal system, other impairments such as seizures, visual, learning, feeding and speech may be present.

There are several types of cerebral palsy:

Geographic distribution

  • Hemiplegia – one side involved
  • Diplegia – both lower limbs with minimal upper extremity involvement
  • Quadriplegia – all limbs involved
  • Triplegia – both legs and one arm involved
  • Monoplegia – one limb involved


  • Spasticity – Velocity dependent tone, the faster one moves the limb, the more resistance. This is the most common tone present
  • Hypotonia – Low tone or floppy
  • Ataxia- Balance issue
  • Athetoid or dyskinetic - Random and uncontrolled body movements. Difficulty speaking clearly (tongue and vocal cords are hard to control).

Cerebral palsy treatment options

The team, including orthopaedists, therapists and orthotists work together with the patient and family to prescribe a customized care plan for the child with cerebral palsy. This can include:

  • A home therapy program to help the child develop their functional skill – taught by the therapists to family caregivers
  • Orthoses (braces) to properly position parts of the body or keep the joints in good alignment, and to help with walking and seating posture
  • Referral to the tone management clinic where tone reducing medications such as Botulinum toxin A and Baclofen may be options
  • Evaluation of muscle function and gait
  • A customized plan involving surgery to correct contractures and bony alignment