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Lycra orthoses

Published April 2013

Download the full evidence summary PDF: ‌Lycra orthoses

PLEASE NOTE: This summary was produced more than 4 years ago. Information provided may be out of date. If you think it would be helpful to update this summary please contact us at

What were we asked?

A parent of a young child with hemiplegia asked whether there was any evidence that Lycra suits are effective, as they had heard conflicting reports. They were concerned that it may weaken muscles, and also asked whether there is any ongoing benefit once suit is no longer worn.

Key findings

There has been one randomised controlled trial of Lycra orthoses, which found that they have the potential to improve movement outcomes for children with cerebral palsy.
However, this was a small trial with only 18 children.

There haven’t been enough well conducted studies of the same garment in groups of children with the same condition for us to be able to say that the evidence clearly shows that they do work.
The lack of long-term studies makes it impossible to provide dependable advice about whether there is a risk of weakened muscles or any lasting benefit once a garment is no longer worn.

Note: This information is produced by PenCRU researchers and reviewed by external experts. The views expressed are those of PenCRU at the University of Exeter Medical School and do not represent the views of the Cerebra charity, or any other parties mentioned. We strongly recommend seeking medical advice before undertaking any treatments/therapies.