Walking through life with cerebral palsy: reflections on daily walking by adults with cerebral palsy

Beate Eltarvåg Gjesdal, Reidun Jahnsen, Prue Morgan, Arve Opheim, Silje Mæland

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Purpose: Walking is a major target in childhood physiotherapy for children with cerebral palsy (CP). Little information exists on the importance or value of walking when these children grow up. The aim of this study was to explore personal reflections on daily walking by adults with CP.Method: Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted and analysed with systematic text condensation, a four-step thematic cross-case analysis.Results: Eight ambulatory adults (26-60 years, four women and four men) with CP were interviewed. Almost all had experienced deteriorated walking ability in adulthood and reported that walking was restricted and affected by intrinsic features, such as pain, fatigue, reduced balance and fear of falling. Extrinsic features such as being looked at due to walking abnormality and environmental factors, such as seasonal changes affected their free walking and was common. Some had accepted using mobility aids for energy conservation.Conclusions: Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence walking in adults with CP. Reflections by the adults with CP suggest these features may reduce participation in public spaces and potentially increase acceptance and use of mobility aids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1746577
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-Being
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Adults
  • cerebral palsy
  • gait
  • interview
  • reflections
  • walking

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