Optimization of Postural Control, Balance, and Mobility in Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Randomized Comparative Analysis of Independent and Integrated Effects of Pilates and Plyometrics

Ragab K. Elnaggar, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Alshimaa R. Azab, Saud M. Alrawaili, Mshari Alghadier, Mazyad A. Alotaibi, Ahmed S. Alhowimel, Mohamed S. Abdrabo, Mohammed F. Elbanna, Ahmed M. Aboeleneen, Walaa E. Morsy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The paradigm of comprehensive treatment approaches for children with cerebral palsy has gained traction, prompting clinicians to deliberate between independent and integrated treatment delivery. However, this decision-making process is often hindered by the dearth of empirical evidence available to inform optimal therapeutic strategies. This study, therefore, sought to compare the effects of Pilates-based core strengthening (PsCS), plyometric-based muscle loading (PlyoML), and their combination on postural control, balance, and mobility in children with unilateral cerebral palsy (ULCP). Eighty-one children with ULCP (age: 12–18 years) were randomized to PsCS (n = 27), PlyoML (n = 27), or a combined intervention (n = 27; equated for total sets/repetitions) group. The three interventions were applied twice/week over 12 successive weeks. Postural control (directional and overall limits of stability—LoS), balance, and mobility (Community Balance and Mobility Scale—CB&M; Functional Walking Test—FWT; Timed Up and Down Stair test—TUDS) were assessed pre- and post-intervention. The combined group exhibited greater increases in directional LoS compared to PsCS and PlyoML including the backward (p = 0.006 and 0.033, respectively), forward (p = 0.015 and 0.036, respectively), paretic (p = 0.017 and 0.018, respectively), and non-paretic directions (p = 0.006 and 0.004, respectively)], and this was also the case for overall LoS (p < 0.001 versus PsCS and PlyoML). In addition, the combined group displayed greater improvements compared to the PsCS and PlyoML groups regarding CB&M (p = 0.037 and p = 0.002, respectively), FWT (p = 0.012 and p = 0.038, respectively), and TUDS (p = 0.046 and p = 0.021, respectively). In conclusion, the combined PsCS and PlyoML exercise program promotes considerably greater improvements in postural control, balance, and mobility compared to unimodal training in children with ULCP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243
JournalChildren
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • children
  • exercise therapy
  • motor function
  • physical conditioning
  • rehabilitation
  • spastic cerebral palsy
  • strength training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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