Spina Bifida is congenital abnormality that occurs when there is underdevelopment of the spinal cord and the spine. This condition comes under neural tube defects. The neural tube is a structure present in the fetus, as the fetus grows, this neural tube develops into brain, spinal cord, and the tissues surrounding those organs.(1) A neural tube forms in the first trimester of the pregnancy and closes within the first month after conceiving.
In children with Spina Bifida, a part of the neural tube fails to develop normally resulting in defects in the spinal bones and spinal cord. The severity of spina bifida can range from mild with very little to no symptoms to severe where the child may be physically disabled. The severity of spina bifida depends on the type, size, and location of the defect. Movement disorder is a prevalent condition seen in almost all the cases of Spina Bifida. So, can a child with Spina Bifida walk?
Can A Child With Spina Bifida Walk?
Children with Spina Bifida tend to have some movement disorder. The severity of the movement disorder depends on the location of the defect. In mild cases of Spina Bifida, the child can walk either unassisted or with the help of crutches or other assistive devices.(2)
If the defect is high on the spine close to the head then it may result in the child having complete paralysis of the lower limbs and in such cases the child will not be able to walk and will have to use a wheelchair for the movement.
Children with defect on the lower level on the spine will have the ability to walk but may have to use assistive devices like crutch, walkers, or braces for ambulation. Such children need regular physical activity to keep them ambulatory and active like playing in a park and other recreational areas. They need to diligently do the exercises as instructed by physical therapist, or participate in early intervention programs organized by many support groups especially for children with Spina Bifida.