Background: Independent efficient ambulation and postural stability are two main objectives in the rehabilitation program for children with cerebral palsy (CP).
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of treadmill training on energy cost of walking, functional walking capacity and postural stability in children with hemiplegic CP.
Method: Fifty-one (30 boys and 21 girls) children with hemiplegic CP with their ages ranged from eight to ten years were included. They were randomly classified into two groups; experimental and control groups. Both groups received designed physical therapy programs, while,the experimental group received treadmill training program instead of traditional gait training, at a frequency of three times per week for three months. Pre and post- treatment assessment of energy cost of walking (energy expenditure index), functional walking capacity (6- minutes walking test) and postural stability via pediatric reaching test (anterior and lateral reaching tests) were conducted.
Results: Both groups showed; significant increase in 6- minutes walking test, anterior and lateral reaching tests(p<0.001) and significant decrease in energy expenditure index (p<0.001) after treatment protocols. The significant improvement after treatmentin all measured variables was obtained in favor to experimental group(p>0.001).
Conclusion: Treadmill training may improve energy cost of walking, functional walking capacity and postural stability in children with hemiplegic CP.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy, Energy cost of walking, Hemiplegia, Postural stability, Treadmill training, Walking capacity