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Help for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain. Specifically, there is a lack of oxygen to the brain either before, during or after birth. When this damage occurs, it ultimately affects the individual’s ability to control their muscles. The area of the brain affected will determine the type of movement that will be present. There are three main types of muscular symptoms that are elicited with cerebral palsy: stiff muscles, uncontrolled movements (dyskinesia) and poor balance/ coordination (ataxia). These movements each uniquely fit under one of the four types of cerebral palsy.  

The first and most common type of CP is spastic cerebral palsy, which accounts for 80% of cases. These individuals have increased muscle tone meaning they have very stiff muscles resulting in very awkward movements. The area of the body affected will determine the official diagnosis or name (e.g. spastic hemi-plegia affects one side of the body vs. spastic diplegia which affects the legs but not the arms).

The other three types of cerebral palsy are less common, however have other identifying symptoms.  Dyskinetic CP (Athetoid) is rapid and jerky movements of the extremities and varying tone throughout the day (low tone and high tone). Ataxic CP is when individuals have poor balance and coordination.  The final type is a mixture of the above.

There is no cure for cerebral palsy but there are several treatments available to help improve the quality of one’s life. Some of the treatments include medicine, Botox injections, surgery, orthoses, therapy (PT, OT, Speech).

Orthoses work by helping support and align the limbs when there are muscle imbalances present, whether those are spasticity or weakness. Their job is to create a stable base of support to optimize independence when sitting, crawling or walking. A very common orthosis provided for these individuals is an ankle foot orthosis (AFO).  An AFO supports the ankle and compensates for weakness. 

If you have any questions about cerebral palsy or other orthotic devices that may assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out to our clinic and we would be happy to help. 


The Custom Orthotics Team (519) 850-4721 | office@customorthoticsoflondon.com | @cool_bracing


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