Lower limb muscle fatigue during walking in children with cerebral palsy

Maaike M. Eken*, Siri M. BrÆndvik, Ellen Marie Bardal, Han Houdijk, Annet J. Dallmeijer, Karin Roeleveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: To investigate whether more prominent signs of muscle fatigue occur during self-paced walking in children with cerebral palsy (CP) compared to typically developing peers. Method: In this case–control study, 13 children with CP (four males, nine females; mean age [SD] 11y 4mo [3y 8mo]; nine in Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level I, three in GMFCS level II, and one in GMFCS level III) and 14 typically developing peers (nine males, five females; mean age [SD] 9y 10mo [1y 10mo]) walked 5 minutes overground at a self-selected walking speed. Electromyography (EMG) median frequency and root mean square (RMS) were identified per gait cycle from EMG recordings of the tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius medialis, soleus, rectus femoris, and semitendinosus. Rate of change in those variables was analysed using mixed linear model analyses. Results: The decrease in EMG median frequency of gastrocnemius medialis and soleus and increase in EMG-RMS of tibialis anterior, gastrocnemius medialis, and soleus were significantly larger in the most affected leg of children with CP compared with typically developing peers. Interpretation: Increased selective muscle fatigue of the lower leg muscles was observed during self-paced walking in children with mild-to-moderate severe CP. This could contribute to and account for limited walking capacity. What this paper adds: Children with cerebral palsy (CP) show more signs of lower leg muscle fatigue than typically developing peers. No signs of muscle fatigue were observed in upper leg muscles of children with CP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-218
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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