Rehabilitation of ataxic gait following cerebellar lesions: Applying theory to practice

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Abstract

Damage to the cerebellum can result in ataxic gait, which affects the ability to walk safely and independently. Physiotherapy is the main treatment for ataxic gait, but there is limited high-quality evidence for interventions used. This review explores the neural mechanisms of the symptoms of ataxic gait, by discussing the cerebellum’s role in coordination, motor learning, anticipatory postural control, balance reactions and adapting gait to meet environmental demands. It discusses mechanisms that occur at cellular level throughout the whole cerebellum and then focuses on difficulties that arise from damage to specific lobes of the cerebellum. Physiotherapy-based interventions, such as balance training, developing postural control, specific gait training, and use of compensatory orthotics and aids, are discussed in relation to the theoretical understanding of cerebellar functioning. Consideration is given to difficulties of using trial-and-error–based learning, which will impact on teaching techniques and strategies used during gait rehabilitation. This theoretical understanding will aid physiotherapists to target their assessment, treatment, management, and goal setting with individuals who have difficulties with ataxic gait following a cerebellar lesion. Publisher Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice on 26 Jul 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09593985.2016.1202364
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-437
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice on 26 Jul 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09593985.2016.1202364

Keywords

  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • gait
  • physiotherapy

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