Orthopaedic, physiotherapy treatment is important for children with cerebral palsy

ST CORRESPONDENT
Friday, 5 October 2018

“It affects the normal walking, sitting and standing ability of the child. These tight muscles should be relaxed at the earliest age with the help of physiotherapy, stretching and proper trained rehabilitation." said Dr Patwardhan.

PUNE: Orthopaedic surgeries and physiotherapy play an important role in the treatment of cerebral palsy (CP) and help in improving mobility near to normal, said Dr Sandeep Patwardhan, Head of Paediatric Orthopaedic Department, Sancheti Hospital. 

A special programme has been arranged from 9.30 am onwards at Sancheti Hospital on October 6 to mark Cerebral Palsy Day, where orthopaedic paediatric surgeons, physiotherapists, sports coaches, nutritionists, therapists and educators will guide people on the topic.

CP is a neurological disorder that affects a child’s movement and muscle tone. In most cases, cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage that develops in a baby before or during or shortly after birth. 

Dr Sandeep Patwardhan said that though the disease does not progress with age, as the child grows older and taller, muscles become stiff and prevent the child from their proper use.

“It affects the normal walking, sitting and standing ability of the child. These tight muscles should be relaxed at the earliest age with the help of physiotherapy, stretching and proper trained rehabilitation. As the child grows older between three and five years, usually botulinum injections in the muscles may be given to relax muscles and with the help of plasters, we can bring the muscles to normal length. This allows the child a proper placement of the feet, knees and the child may be able to stand and walk using a calliper, braces and a walker,” said Dr Patwardhan.

He added that physiotherapy remains a very important part of recovery and rehabilitation process.

“As the child becomes even older between 7 and 10 years, the child may require first surgery to lengthen the tendons, correct deformities or stabilize joints, which will allow it to place its feet, knees and hips properly and improve mobility. When the child nears maturity between 14 and 16 years, another surgery may be required for the correction of deformities and loosening of muscles so that it may be able to walk near to normal,” said Dr Patwardhan.

He added that though CP affects the brain, it causes a lot of deformity and stiffness in muscles. 

“The brain, though damaged for motor control, is otherwise normal and the child can have normal intelligence and can attend normal school and is highly functional. The orthopaedic treatment can help it become more independent and improve ability to move around in the house or school. Orthopedic surgery is the mainstay of treatment of CP. Newer treatments like Bachlofen pumps and multilevel single event surgeries have revolutionised the care of CP and we can make more and more children walk near to normal using this methods,” said Dr Patwardhan.

He said the key also remains a lot of counseling for parents as they have to bring up the child and they require a lot of support.

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