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Physiotherapy for Children: Safe and Effective!

September 25 | 2023
Posted by Sharon Tierney

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Physiotherapy for kids

Image by Freepik

Physiotherapy for children, also known as pediatric physiotherapy, diagnoses and treats a wide variety of conditions and disorders, just like in adults. For example, the usual pulled muscles, sprained ligaments, and broken bones are treated in children very similarly to adults and physiotherapists treat these with expertise. Additionally, some conditions are exclusive to, or more likely to be seen in infants, children, and adolescents. Thus, some physiotherapists specialize in pediatric physiotherapy, to treat these more chronic conditions. In this blog, we discuss the most common conditions seen in physiotherapy, and how a session may be structured differently in adults versus children.

Most Common Conditions and Disorders

1. Osgoode Schlatter’s Disease: Firstly, pain is caused by inflammation of the patellar (knee cap) tendon at the bone below the knee. It most commonly affects adolescent, athletic males.

2. Orthopedic conditions: Includes conditions affecting bones, muscles, and joints ex. Fractures or scoliosis

3. Developmental Delays: Unfortunately, some individuals have delays in hitting their motor milestones. Luckily, physiotherapists can give exercises to help develop key skills like crawling, walking, and running.

4. Neurological disorders: This includes conditions affecting the nervous system like traumatic brain injuries or spina bifida.

5. Torticollis: Affects infants and causes their heads to rotate and sit tilted towards one side

6. Cerebral palsy: Importantly, it is the most common motor disability in childhood and results in impairments in an individual’s abilities. For example, it affects their mobility and capacity to maintain balance and posture. In addition, there may be other related problems with vision, hearing, and capability to learn.

Overall, these are just a quick overview of some of the most common conditions treatable with physiotherapy. However, there are other, and rarer, conditions that were not listed.

What does a treatment look like?

1. Evaluation and assessment: Firstly, the physiotherapist assesses the child’s movement patterns, strength, and motor milestones. For example, flipping from their stomach to back, crawling, standing balance, coordination and posture.

2. Tailored treatment plan: Next, depending on the child’s age, the treatment plan is modified appropriately for them. For example, young children have difficulty doing traditional physiotherapy exercises. Instead, physiotherapists use a play-based approach using toys or games. As a result, the sessions are fun and enjoyable. The child must be engaged to improve their skills and strength in pursuit of the physiotherapy goals.

Play-based physiotherapy for children

Image by Freepik

3. Family involvement: Notably, in pediatric physiotherapy, parents and caregivers are heavily involved in the process. This inclusion is crucial to the child’s success. As a result, families are educated on techniques and exercises to perform with their child. Accordingly, they develop a unique daily routine to work on therapeutic goals at home.

4. Collaboration: Oftentimes, for chronic pediatric conditions, collaboration is necessary with other healthcare professionals. For example, a pediatrician, speech language therapist, occupational therapists and more may be included. They work together to recommend assistive equipment like gait aids, wheelchairs, home equipment, braces, splints and more, depending on the condition.

If you are interested in learning more about pediatric conditions or think that your child may benefit from physiotherapy, our expert Registered Physiotherapists at PhysioNow are happy to help you. Book with PhysioNow today for an initial assessment and treatment!

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