The content of this post was based on discussions with Lindsay Luker, PT,DPT
The potential of motion analysis in pediatric care is vast and expanding. However, application of motion analysis and rehabilitation technology on pediatric patients not as simple as one may think. The use of motion capture systems, force plates, and wireless electromyography (EMG) devices must be adapted for children of all abilities.
The most apparent consideration of pediatric patients is size: children are smaller than adults. These size differences must be taken into consideration for the application and placement of wearable technologies in order to optimize the effectiveness and accuracy of the measurements. For example, EMG probes must be small enough so that placement on the smaller muscle of children minimizes cross talk and interference with surrounding technologies.
Another consideration is the sensory impact of reflective markers and components of a wireless system. Wireless, motion capture systems triumph in allowing a patient to move freely. However, pediatric patients, especially those with sensory pathologies, may need adapted methods on the application of markers which adhere to skin.
Finally, while motivation is a key factor in the success of therapy and assessment of all patients, maintaining motivation of pediatric patients is especially important. Often, pediatric patients seek diverse, stimulating tasks and games. Therapists and clinicians implementing a motion analysis assessment or rehabilitation can consider integrating games and fun into sessions to ensure the best possible care of the patient.
The more comfortable and content a pediatric patient is, the more accurate and successful assessments and therapy sessions can be. Such adaptations in implementation of care can lead to profound improvements in patient outcome and well-being. Furthermore, these adaptations to device design and implementation can and are successfully integrated into movement assessments of pediatric patients.
For more information on the Motion Lab at Cook Children’s Hospital, see their profile on BTS Motion Society here.