Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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The natural history of crouch gait in bilateral cerebral palsy: a systematic review

journal contribution
posted on 2023-01-05, 16:52 authored by Rory O'Sullivan, Frances HorganFrances Horgan, Tim O'Brien, Helen FrenchHelen French

Aim: To systematically review the natural history of crouch gait in bilateral cerebral palsy (CP) in the absence of surgical intervention and to review any relationship between clinical variables and progression of knee crouch.

Methods: Relevant literature was identified by searching article databases (PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, and Web of Science). Included studies reported on participants with bilateral CP who had 3-dimensional gait analysis on at least two occasions with no surgical interventions between analyses.

Results: Five papers (4 retrospective cohort studies; 1 case report) comprised the final selection. Studies varied in follow-up times and participant numbers. Increased knee flexion over time was reported in the four retrospective studies with two distinct patterns of increasing knee flexion evident. Only the case-study reported improved knee extension between assessments. Four studies demonstrated increased hamstring tightness over time with the biggest increases related to longer follow-up time rather than increase in crouch.

Conclusion and implications: The existing literature suggests that the natural history of crouch gait is towards increasing knee flexion over time. Future prospective studies of bigger groups are needed to examine the relationship between increasing crouch and clinical variables.


Health Research Board of Ireland [HPF-2014-650]



The original article is available at

Published Citation

O'Sullivan R, Horgan F, O'Brien T, French H. The natural history of crouch gait in bilateral cerebral palsy: a systematic review. Res Dev Disabil. 2018;80:84-92.

Publication Date

27 June 2018

PubMed ID



  • School of Physiotherapy
  • Undergraduate Research




  • Accepted Version (Postprint)