Correlation Between Hamstring Spasticity and Range of Motion and Selected Gait Parameters in Pediatric Clients with Spastic Diplegia

Date of Award

Summer 8-1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Rehabilitation Sciences


Physical Therapy

Committee Director

John L. Echternach

Committee Member

Evangeline Yoder

Committee Member

Jan Henderson

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.P45G63


Spasticity is often considered the primary limitation to function in children with spastic cerebral palsy. The purpose of this study was to study the relationship between hamstring spasticity and a functional activity, specifically gait. The gait parameters chosen were step length, stride length and velocity. A secondary purpose was to study the relationship between hamstring contracture and the same gait parameters. Reliability data were calculated for tone and ROM measurements. Eleven subjects (8 male and 3 female) between the ages of three years and fifteen years with a primary diagnosis of spastic diplegia were recruited for this study.

Hamstring spasticity was graded using the modified Ashworth scale. Hamstring ROM measurements were taken by measuring popliteal angle using standard goniometric procedure. Velocity was measured with a stopwatch and a measured paper walkway. The subjects ambulated on the paper walkway with inked pads on their shoes for the temporal measurements ( stride and step length). Spearman rank correlation coefficients and Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were used for spasticity and ROM calculations, respectively. Critical values were used to determine significance at the .05 alpha level. Intraclass correlation coefficients were used for reliability measures.

The correlation coefficients for hamstring spasticity and the gait parameters ranged from poor (r.=-.305) to good.

Based on the results of this study, the relationship between spasticity and functional gait parameters is unclear, and the reliability of the modified Ashworth scale as applied to this type of pediatric client is questionable. The relationship between hamstring ROM and selected functional gait parameters was significant and measurement of the popliteal angle was reliable. Study findings suggest that treatment of hamstring range of motion deficits may be one key to improving functional gait.


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