Individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) have a reduced ability to perform motor tasks such as walking. During daily walking, they are confronted with environmental constraints such as irregular surfaces (e.g., relief and uneven surfaces) which may require adaptations to maintain stability and avoid falls. Laboratory gait assessments are conventionally conducted under ideal conditions (e.g., regular and even surfaces) and may overlook subtle problems which may only present in challenging walking environments. Increased knowledge of adaptations to successfully navigate irregular surfaces may contribute to a better understanding of everyday walking barriers.
This scoping review aims to describe gait adaptations to irregular surfaces in individuals with CP and contrast adaptations with those of healthy individuals.
This review followed the 6-stage Joanna Briggs Institute methodology and respected the recommendations of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews statement. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases were searched on March 2021.
The research strategy identified 1616 studies published between 2014-2020, of which 10 were included after abstract and full-text screening. This review reported on 152 individuals with CP (diplegia: n=117, hemiplegia: n=35) and 159 healthy individuals. The included studies focused on spatial-temporal, kinematic, kinetic, and muscle activity parameters over relief, inclined, and staircase surfaces. 7/10 studies were conducted in laboratories, often using surfaces that are not representative of the real-world. The results suggest that for individuals with CP, adaptations on irregular surfaces differ from flat surface walking and across CP subtype. Moreover, individuals with CP present with typical and pathology-specific adaptations to irregular surfaces compared to healthy individuals.
This review highlights the clinical and research interest of focusing future studies on more ecologically valid data collection approaches and provides important recommendations to overcome research gaps in the existing literature.||fr