Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeons treating a Broken Wrist


Hemiplegia is a symptom that involves one-sided paralysis and affects either the right or left side of the body. It happens because of brain or spinal cord injuries and conditions. Stroke is the primary cause and the result causes a Hemiplegic Gait.

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Hemiplegic Gait 

Hemiplegia is a symptom that involves one-sided paralysis and affects either the right or left side of the body. It happens because of brain or spinal cord injuries and conditions. Depending on the cause, hemiplegia can be temporary or permanent. The most common cause of hemiplegia is stroke, which damages the corticospinal tracts in one hemisphere of the brain. Hemiplegia patients show a spastic extension of the lower limb and flexion of the upper limb.

This gait is caused by ineffective flexor muscle control during the swing phase and stiffness of the extensor muscles and is referred to as a hemiplegic gate. These muscles normally stretch the afflicted leg.  In addition, it causes an abnormal first point of contact during stance at the forefoot or lateral border of the foot. The knee is inflexible during the swing and hyperextends during the stance.

The normal hip and knee swing as well as leg circumduction are compromised in a hemiplegic gait. Hemiplegia causes reduced motor control and a changed range of motion at the joints because of paralysis, weakness, and spasticity on one side of the body. In addition to exhibiting weakness, the Gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and plantarflexors begin to exhibit spastic reactions to rapid stretching. In eight out of ten stroke survivors, hemiparesis is present. If you have it, you could find it difficult to stand up, walk, or keep your balance. On your weaker side, you might also experience numbness or tingling.

Analyzing the Hemiplegic Gait

Even though doctors can identify hemiplegic gait abnormalities, quantifying these changes will allow doctors to better understand stroke-related gait aberrations. Following a stroke, patients with hemiplegic gait often walk with slowed down and asymmetrical steps, shorter stance and single support times on the afflicted side, altered joint kinematics, and overall asymmetry in many of the quantifiable parameters. Insights on therapies that will enhance gait quality, prevent possible joint injury and reduce fall risk can greatly help by quantifying these parameters.

To measure temporal-spatial metrics including gait speed, step length, and stance time, the Zeno Walkway System is frequently utilized. To determine dependence on the unaffected limb, doctors and scientists examine the center of pressure during stance and single support. Doctors can compute and quantify joint kinematics and dynamics during the gait cycle.  Doctors use a 3-dimensional camera-based system to conduct the analysis.

These well-established gait metrics then compare data with normative data to determine the degree of impairment.  Over time the doctors will use the measurements to quantify treatment effects and compare walking settings to those previously collected to discover the best treatments and therapies to improve walking conditions, such as with or without an assistive device or brace.


What causes a hemiplegic gait in children?

A hemiplegic gait in children is primarily caused by underlying neurological conditions that affect one side of the body. Some common causes include:

  • Cerebral Palsy: Hemiplegic cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that results from damage to the brain’s motor control areas. It often leads to muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, affecting walking patterns.
  • Stroke: Children can experience strokes, which can lead to hemiplegia and result in an abnormal gait pattern.
  • Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries or other brain disorders may cause weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, leading to a hemiplegic gait.
  • Other Neurological Conditions: Some rare genetic or acquired neurological conditions can also result in hemiplegia and a corresponding gait abnormality.
How is a hemiplegic gait in children managed and treated?
    • The management and treatment of a hemiplegic gait in children typically involve a multi-disciplinary approach that addresses both the underlying condition and functional mobility. Common approaches include:
      • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy plays a crucial role in improving mobility and gait patterns. Therapists work with children to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and teach compensatory strategies for walking.
      • Orthotic Devices: Some children may benefit from orthotic devices like braces or ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) to provide support and stability during walking.
      • Assistive Devices: In some cases, assistive devices such as canes, walkers, or crutches may be recommended to help children maintain balance and reduce the risk of falls.
      • Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT): This therapy is sometimes used to encourage the use of the affected limb by restraining the unaffected limb, promoting motor recovery and functional use.
      • Medications: Depending on the underlying cause of hemiplegia, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms or reduce spasticity in the affected muscles.
      • Surgery: In certain cases, surgical interventions such as tendon lengthening or releases may be considered to improve muscle function or joint alignment.

The specific treatment plan will depend on the child’s age, the underlying condition, and the severity of the hemiplegic gait. It’s important for children with a hemiplegic gait to receive comprehensive care from a team of healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and pediatric specialists, to optimize their mobility and overall well-being.



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Hemiplegia — Does it Go Away?

Furthermore, hemiplegia can result in medical issues including seizures, speech difficulty, and vision impairment. Unfortunately, a cure for hemiplegia does not exist, but it doesn’t get worse over time, and undamaged parts of the brain often can take over many of the functions of the damaged parts. Basically, it does not progress — with assistance, symptoms of the affliction can get better.

Hemiplegia a Complex Condition

Hemiplegia is more than just a physical condition, which makes the situation complex. With newborns, It occurs because of brain damage, typically before or shortly after birth. The side of the body opposite the affected side of the brain experiences weakness and loss of control, similar to the symptoms of a stroke.

Hemiplegic Treatments

The range of treatments has lately been broadened by gait patterns restoration techniques such as treadmill training with partial body weight support, locomotor medication, targeted spasticity reduction with botulinum toxin injections, and musical biofeedback.

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