Age and electromyographic frequency alterations during walking in children with cerebral palsy

Richard T. Lauer, Samuel R. Pierce, Carole A. Tucker, Mary F. Barbe, Laura A. Prosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The use of surface electromyography (sEMG) recorded during ambulation has provided valuable insight into motor development and changes with age in the pediatric population. However, no studies have reported sEMG differences with age in the children with cerebral palsy (CP). In this study, data from 50 children were divided retrospectively into four groups, representing either an older (above the age of seven years) or younger (below the age of seven years) age group with either typical development (TD) or CP. Data were analyzed from 16 children in the younger age group with TD, and eight in the older age group with TD. Data were also available from 14 in the younger age group with CP, and 12 in the older age group with CP. SEMG signals from the rectus femoris (RF) and medial hamstring (MH) were analyzed using wavelet techniques to examine time-frequency content. RF muscle activity was statistically different between all groups (p < 0.001), with an elevated instantaneous mean frequency (IMNF) in the older TD group than the younger TD group, an elevated IMNF in the younger CP group than the older CP group, and elevated IMNF in both CP groups compared to both TD groups. Activity for the MH muscle followed the same pattern except for the CP young and old group comparison, which indicated no difference. The results indicate that differences in neuromuscular activation exist between younger and older groups of children with both TD and CP, and may provide new insight into muscle activity pattern changes during the development of walking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-139
Number of pages4
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Electromyography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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