Kang (2012) Comparison between the Effect of Aquatic Exercise Program and Land Exercise Program in Spastic Cerebral Palsy on Motor Function and Balance

Summary: Aquatic Exercise Program vs. Land Exercise Program in Children with Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Background and Purpose

Children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) often face significant challenges in motor function and balance. The study, “Comparison between the Effect of Aquatic Exercise Program and Land Exercise Program in Spastic Cerebral Palsy on Motor Function and Balance,” by Kang et al., aimed to evaluate the efficacy of an aquatic exercise program (AEP) compared to a land exercise program (LEP) in improving these areas​​.

Study Design and Methodology

The study involved 30 children with spastic CP, who were randomly assigned to two groups: an AEP group and an LEP group. Both groups underwent their respective exercise programs for 30 minutes, three times a week, over a period of eight weeks. The researchers used several measures for pre and post comparisons, including the Range of Motion (ROM) of ankle dorsi flexion, the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) for ankle dorsi flexion, the Pediatric Berg’s Balance Scale (PBS), and the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM)​​.

Results and Findings

The results showed significant improvements in ROM, PBS, and GMFM in both groups post-treatment, indicating that both aquatic and land-based exercise programs were equally effective in enhancing motor function and balance in children with spastic CP. However, there was no significant change observed in the MAS for ankle dorsi flexion. A notable finding was the significant difference in the amount of change in ROM of ankle dorsi flexion between the two groups, suggesting specific benefits in certain areas for each type of exercise program​​.

Implications and Conclusion

This study’s findings are important for therapists and caregivers in selecting appropriate exercise interventions for children with spastic CP. The results suggest that aquatic exercises can be as effective as land exercises in improving motor function and balance. However, the specific choice between AEP and LEP might depend on individual needs and the targeted outcomes for each child. Further research might explore the long-term effects and the optimal combination of aquatic and land exercises for children with CP.

Effectiveness of Aquatic Exercise in Spastic CP

Key Words: Aquatic exercise, Balance, Land exercise, Motor function, Spastic cerebral palsy

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