Children's Hospital Colorado

Spasticity and Tone Abnormalities

We treat kids like they should be treated: like kids. That’s why we designed our hospital just for them.

Best Children's Hospital by U.S. News & World Report Orthopedics 2021-2 Badge

Next Steps

Would you like to learn more about us?
Ready to schedule an appointment?
Schedule online
Need an appointment or have a question?

What are the types of tone abnormalities?

  • Spasticity: stiffness or increased tone (described in more detail below)
  • Dystonia: fluctuating tone with involuntary movements
  • Ataxia: tremors and poor control of direction, grading and timing of movements
  • Hypotonia: decreased tone or "floppiness"

What is spasticity?

Simply put, spastic muscles are tense and resist movement. Children with spasticity are usually described as stiff, and muscle contractions can happen without voluntary control.

Who gets spasticity and can it be prevented?

Spasticity is a type of increased tone that can be a long-term effect of conditions where the brain and/or spinal cord are damaged or fail to develop normally. These conditions include:

There is no cure for spasticity and it cannot be prevented. However, it can be well managed with the proper combination of physical and occupational therapy, medications, injections or surgery.

How does spasticity relate to cerebral palsy?

Spasticity is a common symptom found in kids and adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Spasticity can be difficult to control in children with CP and interferes with movement by affecting smoothness, speed, range of motion and a variety of movement patterns.

Next steps

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Mike Dichiaro, MD

Mike Dichiaro, MD

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation - Pediatric, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Molly Buerk, PA-C, MMS

Molly Buerk, PA-C, MMS

Physician Assistant

Chelsea Soucie, CPNP

Chelsea Soucie, CPNP

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Sumeet Garg, MD

Sumeet Garg, MD

Orthopaedic Surgery