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Summary: Conservative therapies for equinus in cerebral palsy may help to postpone calf surgery in younger children. This study reports a prospective randomised trial of intramuscular botulinum toxin A (BtA) as an alternative to serial casting in 20 children with a dynamic component to calf equinus. Outcome was assessed in the short term to show the effect of one treatment cycle. Assessments were by clinical examination, video gait analysis, and three-dimensional gait analysis. BtA was of efficacy similar to that of serial casting. Tone reduction in the BtA group allowed a more prolonged improvement in passive dorsiflexion, which may allow more opportunity for increase in muscle length. Gait analysis showed an improved mean ankle kinematic pattern in a subsection of both groups, which was maintained at 12 weeks in the BtA group, whereas the cast group relapsed. There were fewer side effects in the BtA group. Median time to reintervention was similar.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.