Understanding skeletal muscle in cerebral palsy: a path to personalized medicine?

Until recently, there has been little interest in understanding the intrinsic features associated with the pathomorphology of skeletal muscle in cerebral palsy (CP). Coupled with emerging evidence that challenges the role of spasticity as a determinant of gross motor function and in the development of fixed muscle contractures, it has become increasingly important to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms responsible for muscle alterations in CP. This knowledge can help clinicians to understand and apply treatment modalities that take these aspects into account. Thus, the inherent heterogeneity of the CP phenotype allows for the potential of personalized medicine through the understanding of muscle pathomorphology on an individual basis and tailoring treatment approaches accordingly. This review aims to summarize recent developments in the understanding of CP muscle and their relationship to musculoskeletal manifestations, in addition to proposing a treatment paradigm that incorporates this new knowledge.