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Athetoid Cerebral PalsyAthetoid Cerebral Palsy

There are three types of cerebral palsy (CP), spastic, ataxic, and athetoid. Cerebral palsy may present as a mild to severe case, depending on area(s) of brain affected and which body functions that section of the brain controls. Motor control, motor tone, speech, posture, ambulation, balance, and mobility are some areas that may be impacted. This article will be discussing athetoid CP.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Basic Definition

Those children diagnosed with athetoid CP have fluctuating muscle tone between hypertonia and hypotonia. Hyper refers to unusually high muscle tone which is exhibited with stiffness and tension in the muscles. Hypo indicates unusually low muscle tone, or “floppy” muscles. In CP, there is an inability to voluntarily regulate muscle tone making it difficult to walk, hold or grasp items, dress, eat, or play.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Orthopaedic Needs

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy affects a child’s ability to control the muscles of their body and is characterized by abnormal, involuntary movements. A pediatric orthopaedic specialist is often consulted for the needs of growing children with numerous orthopaedic manifestations. Some of the associated conditions typically characteristic with athetoid CP are:

• Abnormal tone
• Loss of motor control
• Impaired balance and coordination, or Ataxia
• Dyskinesia (difficulty or abnormality in performing voluntary muscle movements)
• Gait disorders
• Possible development of spinal deformity
• Rigidity with high muscle tone or hypertonia restricting movements
• Dystonia (slow, rotational movement of body, arms, legs)
• Fractures

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy Treatment Options

Pediatric Orthopaedic treatment for athetoid CP may include medication, bracing, adaptive equipment, therapy, exercise, or surgery in order to help manage symptoms and prevent future complications. The signs and symptoms, and impact on health and developmental motor performance is varied and relates to the severity of the condition and degree of movement issues. Parents, caregivers, and a child’s pediatrician may begin noticing movement pattern issues early in the infant’s life.

Athetoid CP Pediatric Orthopaedic Movement Disorders Team

The Cerebral Palsy and Movement Disorders Team at Pediatric Orthopaedic Associates provide for a multidisciplinary approach with the latest diagnostic and treatment tools at their disposal. For a caring, experienced, and comprehensive assessment of your growing child’s needs, call the office for an evaluation appointment today.


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