The Impact of Not Walking

Cerebral Palsy almost always impacts a child’s mobility. The extent of the impact varies by child.  

The most common type of Cerebral Palsy is spastic, which is characterized by overly toned muscles and spastic, jerky movements. 

Tight, stiff, overly toned muscles make it difficult for the child to control movements. If the muscles in the lower body are impacted, walking can be difficult or in some cases not possible. 

With Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, the child struggles with involuntary movements in the muscles. Muscle tone can fluctuate between under and over-toned, making moving and controlling their limbs challenging.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy causes shaky movements and difficulty with balance. Someone with this type of Cerebral Palsy will often spread their feet wide to help maintain their balance. 

How mobility is affected is dependent on which muscle groups are affected and how severely. 

With symptoms mainly in the legs, mobility becomes more of an issue.

The system for classifying the severity of Cerebral Palsy helps define the limitations and abilities, as related to mobility. The system is called the Gross Motor Function Classification System or GMFCS, and describes five levels of mobility:

  • Level one describes someone who can walk with no limitations.
  • Level two means a person can walk, but with some limitations.
  • Level three means that a person can walk but needs an assistive device like a walker or cane.
  • At level four, a person may be mobile with a self-operated wheelchair
  • Level five, mobility is only possible in a wheelchair operated by another person

The Trexo robotic legs help children walk and experience the various benefits associated with walking and movement in general.

Physical Therapy for Cerebral Palsy 

Children with CP can benefit from physical therapy. The physical therapist can help set goals, like decreasing pain, building strength or endurance and more. Physical therapy strengthens muscles, improves the child’s coordination, improves balance, and can help increase flexibility – all of which help mobility.  

Assistive Devices

Children can benefit from the use of assistive devices. Canes and walkers help children who lack good balance. For those who can’t walk at all or only with significant pain, a wheelchair can increase the ability to get around.

A child needs to do more than just get around. Walking is so important to their health and development.

When you have an inactive lifestyle*:

  • You burn fewer calories
  • You may lose muscle strength and endurance
  • Your bones may get weaker and lose some mineral content
  • Your metabolism may be affected, and your body may have more trouble breaking down fats and sugars
  • Your immune system may not work as well
  • Your body may have more inflammation
  • You may develop a hormonal imbalance

Emerging research also suggests that physical activity may help our immune systems protect our bodies from infection and disease.**

A study that analyzed one million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting.***

It is possible for children with Cerebral Palsy GMFCS 4 and 5 to walk and enjoy the benefits of walking. Our Trexo Home device has been used by kids with a wide range of conditions and needs. Some used need to build endurance so they can use their walker. Others are not able to sit, roll or stand – these children can use the Trexo Home to take their first steps.

We understand your child has unique needs. We can set up a Trexo just for them. Find out how the Trexo can help your child by taking our quick quiz