Celebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) occurs in three out of every 1,000 live births. CP is usually a spastic disturbance of the nervous and muscular systems that appears in infancy or early childhood.. It is characterized by a lack of muscle coordination, stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes, walking with one foot dragging, toe walking, crouched or scissored gait, and muscle tone that is either too floppy or too stiff. Spastic hybrid forms with generally elevated muscle tension are the most common. Premature infants are affected most frequently, and multiple disabilities are seen in most cases.


The causes of CP can vary widely. A lack of oxygen, umbilical cord complications, infections, cerebral bleeding, and accidents can lead to CP throughout pregnancy, but these complication most frequently occur in the course of birth.


The symptoms of CP vary widely. Spastic symptoms occur in 75% of all cases.

  • Hemiplegia (32%): The limbs on one side of the body are affected. The arms are usually more severely affected than the legs.
  • Diplegia (40%): The legs are more severely affected than the arms.
  • Tetraplegia (2%): All limbs are paralyzed; motor and mental development is significantly delayed. Only about 10% of affected individuals are able to walk.
  • Bilateral hemiplegia: Spastic paralysis of all four limbs, with the arms more severely affected than the legs.
  • Triplegia: Spastic paralysis of three limbs.

In all forms, the long flexors and adductor muscles in particular are affected by paralysis. Spasticity also causes stiffening of the joints. Typical presentations of the joints are described as follows: the hip is flexed, angled, and rotated inward. There is a tendency toward stiffness in the flexion position of the elbow, wrist joint, and knee joint. The forearm is bent and the thumb is rotated inward. The ankle and foot are in the equinus position, and the spinal column is severely bent.

Diagnosis and therapy

A physician will generally diagnose CP based on clinical findings after other progressive causes such as tumours or inflammation have been excluded. Treatment is focused on a multidisciplinary approach involving various medical, orthopedic, and therapeutic professionals. Ottobock offers a variety of products designed to help children and adults with posture, positioning, balance, and walking.

Orthotic management

The products below are designed to help support and improve mobility for individuals with cerebral palsy. Whether a product is suitable for you and whether you are capable of exploiting its full functionality depends on many different factors. Your physical condition, fitness, and a detailed medical examination are all considerations. Your doctor or orthotist will decide which device is most suited to you. We are happy to support you.

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