Spasticity measurement based on tonic stretch reflex threshold in children with cerebral palsy using the pediAnklebot

Marco Germanotta, Juri Taborri, Stefano Rossi, Flaminia Frascarelli, Eduardo Palermo, Paolo Cappa, Enrico Castelli, Maurizio Petrarca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nowadays, objective measures are becoming prominent in spasticity assessment, to overcome limitations of clinical scales. Among others, Tonic Stretch Reflex Threshold (TSRT) showed promising results. Previous studies demonstrated the validity and reliability of TSRT in spasticity assessment at elbow and ankle joints in adults. Purposes of the present study were to assess: (i) the feasibility of measuring TSRT to evaluate spasticity at the ankle joint in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP), and (ii) the correlation between objective measures and clinical scores. A mechatronic device, the pediAnklebot, was used to impose 50 passive stretches to the ankle of 10 children with CP and 3 healthy children, to elicit muscles response at 5 different velocities. Surface electromyography, angles, and angular velocities were recorded to compute dynamic stretch reflex threshold; TSRT was computed with a linear regression through angles and angular velocities. TSRTs for the most affected side of children with CP resulted into the biomechanical range (95.7 ± 12.9° and 86.7 ± 17.4° for Medial and Lateral Gastrocnemius, and 75.9 ±12.5° for Tibialis Anterior). In three patients, the stretch reflex was not elicited in the less affected side. TSRTs were outside the biomechanical range in healthy children. However, no correlation was found between clinical scores and TSRT values. Here, we demonstrated the capability of TSRT to discriminate between spastic and non-spastic muscles, while no significant outcomes were found for the dorsiflexor muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number277
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - May 29 2017


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Modified ashworth scale
  • PediAnklebot
  • Spasticity
  • Stretch reflex
  • Tonic stretch reflex threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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