Atypical triceps surae force and work patterns underlying gait in children with cerebral palsy

Anahid Ebrahimi, Michael H. Schwartz, Jack A. Martin, Tom F Novacheck, Darryl G. Thelen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess Achilles tendon mechanical behavior during gait in children with cerebral palsy (CP). We used a newly designed noninvasive sensor to measure Achilles tendon force in 11 children with CP (4F, 8–16 years old) and 15 typically developing children (controls) (9F, 8–17 years old) during overground walking. Mechanical work loop plots (force-displacement plots) were generated by combining muscle-tendon kinetics, kinematics, and EMG activity to evaluate the Achilles tendon work generated about the ankle. Work loop patterns in children with CP were substantially different than those seen in controls. Notably, children with CP showed significantly diminished work production at their preferred speed compared to controls at their preferred speed and slower speeds. Despite testing a heterogeneous population of children with CP, we observed a homogenous spring-like muscle-tendon behavior in these participants. This is in contrast with control participants who used their plantar flexors like a motor during gait. Statement of Clinical Significance: These data demonstrate the potential for using skin-mounted sensors to objectively evaluate muscle contributions to work production in pathological gait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Stacy Ngwesse, Elizabeth Duffy, Andy Ries, and the Gillette Gait and Motion Analysis Lab team for recruitment, data collection, and data processing used in this study. Funding provided by NIH HD092697. Jack A. Martin and Darryl G. Thelen are co‐inventors on a patent for tensiometer technology (U.S. Patent No. 10631775).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of Orthopaedic Research® published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Orthopaedic Research Society.


  • Achilles tendon force
  • cerebral palsy gait
  • motor disorders
  • muscle-tendon work loops
  • shear wave tensiometer

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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