This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Spastic diplegia cerebral palsy is a form of cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that usually appears in infancy or early childhood, and permanently affects muscle control and coordination. Affected people have increased muscle tone which leads to spasticity (stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes) in the legs. The arm muscles are generally less affected or not affected at all. Other signs and symptoms may include delayed motor or movement milestones (i.e. rolling over, sitting, standing); walking on toes; and a “scissored” gait (style of walking).
As with other types of cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia is usually caused by brain damage, which generally happens before, during, or shortly after birth. Babies born prematurely and with low birth weight are at a higher risk of developing cerebral palsy. The exact cause is often unknown; however, the condition has been associated with genetic abnormalities; congenital brain malformations; maternal infections or fevers; and/or injury before, during or shortly after birth. There is no cure, and treatment options vary depending on the signs and symptoms present in each person and the severity of the condition, and may include physical, occupational and speech therapy, medication and surgery.
For more information, visit GARD.