Treadmill training could help tots walk

Feb 22, 2010

Using a treadmill could help infants with prenatal complications or who were injured at birth walk earlier and better, according to a University of Michigan researcher.

Prenatal injuries can often result in self-correcting or fixable neuromotor delays, but sometimes get a more serious diagnosis, such as , says Rosa Angulo-Barroso, associate professor of movement science at the U-M School of Kinesiology. Some of those diagnoses may come much later, or in mild cases, never, she says.

Angulo-Barroso and colleagues followed 15 at risk for neuromotor delays for two years and tested their changes in and treadmill-stepping in their homes. The infants were assisted using the treadmill by their parents.

The researchers looked at the frequency of steps and also the decrease in toe-walking over the two-year period. For those infants who were still not walking, they followed up by calling families to see if infants were walking by age 3.

They found that kids with neuromotor delays using the treadmill were on the same improving trajectory as normal kids. Of the 15 children, six were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

"We found that in those with neuromotor delays, the pattern of development through time was parallel (but less) than normal kids." said Angulo-Barroso, who is also a research associate professor at the U-M Center for Human Growth and Development. "We also found less toe-walking, so foot placement improved."

The study also suggests a critical intervention window. Both children without a diagnosis and kids with cerebral palsy improved the most between 10 months and 18 months.

So what does this means for parents of children at risk for neuromotor delays?

"We are putting words of caution here," Angulo-Barroso said. "This is a feasibility study only and the results show it seems viable to do treadmill intervention."

A feasibility study merely shows that it warrants more work to see how much treadmill intervention helps. However, Angulo-Barroso stresses that in the meantime, parents should take other interventions seriously.

"Early interventions are really, really critical, so at this point I wouldn't tell them to go find a treadmill, but I would say make sure you get a good physical therapist and work with the physical therapist to see if your kids would be a good candidate for that kind of (treadmill) intervention," said Angulo-Barroso, who noted that the next study is a randomized sample of children to see how they respond to a formal intervention.

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

More information: The current study, "Treadmill Responses and Physical Activity Levels of Infants at Risk for Neuromotor Delay" appears in the journal Pediatric Physical Therapy.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stroke survivors walk better after human-assisted rehab

May 08, 2008

Walking therapy for stroke survivors is significantly more effective when conducted by a physical therapist instead of a robot, according a small study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Parkinson's: Treadmill training improves movement

Jan 19, 2010

Treadmill training can be used to help people with Parkinson's disease achieve better walking movements, say researchers. In a systematic review of the evidence, Cochrane Researchers concluded treadmill training could be ...

Infantile esotropia linked to developmental delays

Apr 17, 2008

Babies with an eye-alignment disorder called infantile esotropia have delays in motor development milestones, but development “catches up” after corrective surgery, reports a study in the April Journal of AAPOS (American ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.