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Best Shoes for Cerebral Palsy

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White Adaptive Sneaker

Watch Testimonials from our Cerebral Palsy Community Members

I really think this is going to help a lot of people worrying less about falling.

Katy G.

Founder Cerebral Palsy Strong

These shoes are very special to me, because they help you to walk.

Mason T.

Cadense Ambassador, Cerebral Palsy

They are snug and comfy, easy to use, and built to last.

Jacob P.

Cadense Ambassador Cerebral Palsy

Walking is so much easier with Cadense shoes.

Kaitlin McG.

Cadense Ambassador, Cerebral Palsy

Mason unboxing a Cadense Adaptive Sneaker
Photo of Jacob P, Cadense Amabassador
Photo of Cadense Ambassador Kaitlin McG.

I really think this is going to help a lot of people worrying less about falling.

These shoes are very special to me, because they help you to walk.

They are snug and comfy, easy to use, and built to last.

Walking is so much easier with Cadense shoes.

Mason unboxing a Cadense Adaptive Sneaker
Photo of Jacob P, Cadense Amabassador
Photo of Cadense Ambassador Kaitlin McG.
Photo of Jacob P, Cadense Amabassador
Photo of Cadense Ambassador Kaitlin McG.
Mason unboxing a Cadense Adaptive Sneaker
Image of a brain on a purple background

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that encompasses multiple movement disorders. It affects 1 out of 345 children in the U.S. alone.

The word “cerebral” in the name refers to the origin of these disorders being in the brain, while “palsy” describes their nature as muscle problems. 

Although CP is lifelong, it is not progressive. The condition can be mild, moderate or severe. It can be managed and improved in many cases through appropriate treatment. 

Symptoms of cerebral palsy

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary from person to person, as well as over the course of a lifetime. There are several specific subtypes, including spastic cerebral palsy, dyskinetic cerebral palsy, ataxic cerebral palsy, and mixed cerebral palsy. The symptoms of cerebral palsy can affect walking, movement and posture.

Inhibited Movements

Mayo Clinic explains how cerebral palsy can affect movements in a range of different ways. People with CP may have a difficult time coordinating their muscles, controlling their movements, or maintaining a natural gait. Muscle spasms and stiffness also characterise CP.

Trouble Speaking

Many children with cerebral palsy experience difficulties with speech. CP can also be accompanied by challenges with chewing and swallowing.

Delays in Motor Skills

Mayo Clinic describes how children with CP may take longer to develop their motor skills. A child with CP may not learn how to sit upright or crawl as soon as other children without CP.


An estimated 15-55% of children and adults with CP also have comorbid epilepsy. This associated condition can cause seizures.

Mental Health Conditions

Patients with CP are more likely than the general population to have co-occurring mental health conditions. Some of these conditions may include anxiety disorders, mood affective disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenic disorders or drug-related disorders.

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Causes of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain. This damage can have a number of possible causes.


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains that if the mother’s blood pressure is high while pregnant, the risk for a stroke in the developing fetus increases. If a stroke occurs, it can cause brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy.

Maternal Infections

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, if the mother is infected with a pathogen during pregnancy, the inflammation caused by that infection can lead to fetal neurological damage that can produce CP. Examples of infections that may induce CP include rubella, Zika virus, toxoplasmosis, herpes and cytomegalovirus.

Traumatic Head Injuries

When a child develops CP due to a traumatic head injury, it is referred to as “acquired” CP. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says that employing safety measures such as suitable car seats can help to reduce the chances of a young child receiving such an injury.

Genetic Changes

The development of the fetal brain is governed by genes. If those genes mutate, that can throw brain development off course, which may lead to cerebral palsy.

Treatments for cerebral palsy

While it is not possible to cure cerebral palsy, you can work with your doctor to come up with an appropriate treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms.

Woman holding two red pills


The muscle tightness that can accompany CP can be treated with muscle or nerve injections, or oral muscle relaxants. Doctors may also prescribe injections that help to reduce drooling.

Surgeon performing surgery on person


Sometimes as children with cerebral palsy are growing, they experience a shortening of their muscles or tendons that is called “contractures.” A surgeon can restore correct limb and spine placement by lengthening the shortened tissue.  Another type of surgery that is sometimes used to treat cerebral palsy is selective dorsal rhizotomy. This is a procedure in which a surgeon cuts certain nerve fibers to help combat painful spasms that are not being helped through more conservative treatments. Numbness can result, however.

Child playing with Toy Robot

Occupational Therapy

The focus of occupational therapy for patients with cerebral palsy is to help restore and maintain independence at home, at school and at work.

Physical Therapy session administered by a young female trainer

Physical Therapy

Patients with CP may also benefit from physical therapy, which is aimed at restoring and maintaining natural movements. According to a systematic review in Cureus, physical therapy interventions such as resistance exercises, stretching, and cycling can lead to improvements in cardiovascular endurance, coordination, balance and gait.


“Rehabilitation” refers to an umbrella of treatments, including physical therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy and occupational therapy. It also incorporates the use of braces and assistive devices. A rehabilitation specialist can help you come up with a plan for the most effective combination of treatments.

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Exercises for Cerebral Palsy

Author Kylie Urban at the University of Michigan quotes Mark Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Michigan, as explaining that exercise can help people with CP to increase quality of life and mobility while decreasing risk for other diseases. 

Following are some exercises that can help people with cerebral palsy to maximize their physical and psychological well being.

Calf Strength

A simple exercise to increase calf strength is calf raises.

  1. Stand upright with both feet planted flat on the floor.
  2. Gradually rise up on your tiptoes.
  3. Gradually lower yourself back down.
  4. Do as many reps as are comfortable for you.

Joint Rotations

Practice rotating each of your joints in both directions, one at a time. Be careful when doing joint rotations not to overextend and dislodge a joint out of ideal alignment.

Hamstring Stretch

  1. Seat yourself on the floor with both legs pointed out in front of you.
  2. Lean forward, reaching toward your toes, until you feel a mild but not painful stretch.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, and then release.
  4. Repeat as desired.


Dancing is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout while also increasing balance, strength, and muscle awareness. There are numerous styles of dance you can choose from.

Resistance Band Training

A resistance band is a tool that can help you do strength training in the comfort of your own home. There are a variety of exercises that can incorporate its use.

Water Exercises

The resistance provided by the water can make aquatic exercises a great option for a workout with cerebral palsy. You also do not have to worry about maintaining balance in the water, plus it may be gentler on your joints than high impact exercises.

Features of Cerebral Palsy footwear

Exercising with cerebral palsy is safer, easier and more comfortable when you have high-quality footwear that boasts the features you need for a natural gait. Research confirms the benefits of choosing the right footwear for CP.

Depth and width

Choose a shoe that is wide enough to provide stability, and deep enough that you can add inserts for extra cushioning and support.

White Adaptive Shoes by Cadense photographed from the top

Upward curvature

An upward curvature at the front of a shoe referred to as a “toe spring” can reduce the amount of work muscles need to perform to move the feet while walking. This may make walking more comfortable with CP.

Soft cushioning for adaptive shoes

Reliable support

A shoe that fits snugly (but not too tightly) can help to keep the ankles aligned while walking, preventing stumbles and injuries.

Why choose Cadense?

A shoe designed by experts who specialize in engineering footwear for patients with cerebral palsy and other health conditions can provide you with superior comfort and support compared to regular footwear.

The Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women features variable friction technology. This adaptive technology lets you “glide” over uneven surfaces, which can help if you have difficulty lifting your feet due to muscle weakness, spasms, or reduced range of motion.

Being able to walk comfortably and safely encourages more exercise, and promotes independent functioning in day to day life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cerebral palsy a progressive condition?

No, cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition. It may change in how it presents over the course of a lifetime, but it will not get worse.

How does cerebral palsy affect daily life?

A person with cerebral palsy may have difficulties with everyday tasks such as walking, speaking, eating, and controlling other movements. 

The same damage to the brain that caused CP might also have caused other neurological issues as well. Patients with CP sometimes also experience hearing and vision changes, changes in sensation, mental health conditions, seizures, or issues affecting the digestive system or bladder.

Can people with cerebral palsy live a full and active life?

Except in severe cases, most people with cerebral palsy can be expected to lead full, active lives with the right treatment and support.

How is cerebral palsy diagnosed?

A process of developmental monitoring and screening during childhood is used to diagnose cerebral palsy. Children may also undergo medical evaluations.

If doctors suspect CP, they  may order further tests to see if they can identify the root cause. Examples include genetic tests, brain imaging tests, and metabolic tests.

What treatments are available for cerebral palsy?

A variety of treatment options exist for cerebral palsy, including medications, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, recreational therapy, and surgical procedures. Treatments may also be required for any co-occurring conditions.

Can cerebral palsy be prevented?

Some types of cerebral palsy cannot be prevented, such as those that stem from genetic factors. But you can prevent certain types of cerebral palsy. For example, using a car seat can help prevent a traumatic brain injury in a growing child, which is one potential cause of CP. There are also safety precautions that can be observed during pregnancy to reduce the chances of CP.

Tips for a safe pregnancy

Mayo Clinic recommends that before becoming pregnant, prospective mothers vaccinate themselves against the infections that can lead to CP. While pregnant, do not use tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs. Take good care of your overall health, and follow your doctor’s recommendations for prenatal care.

More Information on cerebral palsy

If your child has cerebral palsy, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides for special education services. Your doctor can help you navigate these services. You will also want to work closely with your child’s teachers to help ensure your child is receiving the right support in school.

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