Muscle weakness, muscle spasticity and coordination problems can contribute to a number of complications either during childhood or later during adulthood, including:

  • Contracture. Contracture is the shortening of muscle tissue due to severe tightening of the muscle (spasticity). Contracture can inhibit bone growth, cause bones to bend, and result in joint deformities, dislocation or partial dislocation.
  • Malnutrition. Swallowing or feeding problems can make it difficult for someone who has cerebral palsy, particularly an infant, to get enough nutrition. This may cause impaired growth and weaker bones. Your child may need a feeding tube for adequate nutrition.
  • Mental health conditions. People with cerebral palsy may have mental health (psychiatric) conditions, such as depression. Social isolation and the challenges of coping with disabilities can contribute to depression.
  • Lung disease. People with cerebral palsy may develop lung disease and breathing disorders.
  • Neurological conditions. People with cerebral palsy may be more likely to develop movement disorders or worsened neurological symptoms over time.
  • Osteoarthritis. Pressure on joints or abnormal alignment of joints from muscle spasticity may result in the early development of painful degenerative bone disease (osteoarthritis).
Aug. 16, 2013

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