Cerebral Palsy and Orthopaedic Health

Posted on March 31st, 2022 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affect movement and the ability to maintain pressure or balance caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain, most often before birth. This is also the most commonly diagnosed motor disability in children. Cerebral palsy gets its name from cerebral, meaning having to do with the brain, and palsy, meaning weakness using the muscles.  

Cerebral palsy can cause various symptoms that typically first appear in infancy or preschool years. Symptoms differ from person to person and range in severity, making every case unique. The most common ways this condition affects the body’s ability to move are with exaggerated reflexes, unusual posture, involuntary movements, reduced range of motion, unsteady walking, spasticity of the limbs, and more. Other common problems associated with cerebral palsy include difficulty swallowing and eye muscle imbalance, making it difficult to focus both eyes on the same thing.  

Orthopaedic Complications With Cerebral Palsy

Orthopaedics refers to anything relating to the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. The bodily system helps us move, so our ability to walk and move around normally can be affected when something isn’t right.  

Those with cerebral palsy often work closely with an orthopaedic specialist since the condition can greatly impair and affect movements such as walking, bending, and more. Some of the ways cerebral palsy affects the musculoskeletal system include: 

  • Muscle contracture – Many people with cerebral palsy have overly toned muscles, which can cause them to contract more frequently than normal. This leads to shortening of the muscles, which affects movement and can cause pain. 
  • Hip dysplasia – Deformities of the hip joint are common for those with cerebral palsy due to over-toned muscles or hip joints becoming misaligned. 
  • Scoliosis – Known as the curvature of the spine, many people with cerebral palsy develop scoliosis due to the back muscles being unable to support the spine properly. 
  • Flat foot – When muscles abnormally contract in the feet, the feet can become flat, losing their arch and making it more difficult to walk. 
  • Equinovarus – Also known as clubfoot, abnormal foot contractions can also cause feet to twist upwards, leading to walking difficulties and trouble bearing any extra weight. 
  • Toe walking – When the muscle tone is too much in the ankles, they may start toe walking, meaning they walk solely on their toes or even on the balls of their feet. 
  • Limb length inequality – Cerebral palsy can lead to different limb lengths, especially in the legs, where one is shorter or longer than the other, making it difficult and painful to walk comfortably. 

An orthopaedic specialist can help diagnose cerebral palsy and other health complications that result from this condition. An orthopaedic doctor can also help determine the best course of treatment to help those with cerebral palsy move more comfortably and live healthier and happier lives.  

For exceptional orthopaedic care, contact Orthopaedic Specialty Group!

It’s crucial to seek expert medical treatment if you struggle with problems or pain associated with your bones or joints. Give the professionals at Orthopaedic Specialty Group a call at (203) 337-2600, and let us know how we can help you! Don’t let that pain hold you back from living your life. Your health and safety are our top priority.