Gait analysis before and after gastrocnemius fascia lengthening in children with cerebral palsy

M. Galli, V. Cimolin, M. Crivellini, G. Albertini

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Equinus deformity is a common problem in children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP). Persistent deformity that interferes with function is treated by surgically lengthening the triceps surae. Surgical approaches carry a recurrence risk of equinus deformity or over correction with the development of calcaneal deformity, crouch and diminished strength for push-off during gait. These aspects interfere with the basic function of the gastrocnemius/soleus complex. This study aimed to analyze kinematic and kinetic effects of gastrocnemius fascia lengthening on gait pattern in children with CP and, in particular, the evaluation of push-off ability before and after treatment. Twenty children with CP were evaluated by clinical examination and three-dimensional gait analysis (GA) before and after (12 months) gastrocnemius fascia lengthening surgery (modified Vulpius' technique) to improve equinus foot and walking. The results showed a significant reduction in equinus foot, represented by a reduction in the β angle (the angle between the foot and the ground on the sagittal plane) at initial contact (IC), closer to healthy children, and increased ankle power generation during push-off. Even if this result was not of a statistically significant level, it is important because it means that the surgery did not produce a functional weakness. Kinetic results showed an improvement (ankle joint power absorbed and generated) related to a more functional walking behavior. Some improvements concerning the knee joint are significant, in particular, the value of the knee angle at IC and of peak during the swing phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Biomaterials and Biomechanics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Gait analysis
  • Vulpius technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Mechanics of Materials


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