What is pediatric physical therapy?

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who use their education in movement and clinical reasoning to provide examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and intervention services to individuals of all ages. A physical therapist is educated to help patients improve or restore mobility, manage their condition, decrease pain, and prevent disability.

More specifically, pediatric physical therapists work with children and their families to promote functional independence and participation in home, school, and community environments.  They provide services to improve strength and endurance, facilitate motor development and function, increase participation, and promote independence. Pediatric physical therapists also assist young athletes in preventing injury and help them return to play after sustaining an injury.

An assortment of treatment interventions are used in helping children regain their full potential. These include but are not limited to balance and coordination activities, therapeutic exercise, adaptive play activities, developmental activities, safety and prevention programs, and health and wellness programs. A pediatric physical therapist also works in collaboration with families, educational, medical, developmental, and rehabilitation specialists to provide the utmost care and support to families and their children.

Does my child need physical therapy?

Children who have a specific health impairment/disease, decreased muscle strength, poor coordination, decreased flexibility delayed development of milestones, decreased muscle tone, or injury may be in need of a pediatric physical therapist.

Your child may benefit from physical therapy intervention if they display one or more of the following signs/needs.

  • Abnormal muscle tone (increased or decreased)
  • Abnormal gait (toe walking, crouched gait, etc.)
  • Bracing needs
  • Decreased balance and/or coordination
  • Delayed developmental milestones (rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, etc.)
  • Difficulty rolling over or sitting up
  • Difficulty keeping up with their peers during play
  • Does not bear weight on legs or is not walking by 16 months
  • Equipment needs
  • Frequent falls or difficulty walking and/or running
  • Muscular tightness
  • Muscular weakness
  • Neuromuscular Disorders (Cerebral Palsy, dystonia, etc.)
  • Obvious limp or weakness
  • Orthopedic or sports related injuries/diagnosis (unable to perform at their prior level of function)
  • Postural pain in low back, hips or leg
  • Torticollis
How will physical therapy help my child?

Pediatric physical therapy may assist and improve your child’s overall quality of life by providing the following benefits:

  • Increase coordination
  • Decrease pain
  • Increase and maintain muscle strength/endurance
  • Promote healing of soft tissue lesions
  • Educate patients and family
  • Decrease swelling and inflammation of joints
  • Increase and restore joint range of motion
  • Decrease muscle spasm and spasticity
  • Prevent contracture and deformity of limbs
  • Increase ability in daily activities
  • Promote mobility through walking or use of wheeled mobility
How can I get started with physical therapy for my child? 

Call our office at 619.578.2232 and our staff will guide you through the intake process. At this time you will be able to discuss your concerns, learn of services we provide, and the next best step to take for your child.

An appointment for an evaluation will be made and instructions will be given to prepare you for your initial visit. Our staff will also help you navigate the insurance and billing process and answer any questions you may have regarding the evaluation and treatment plan for your child.

Sources
Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy
Kids Can Do
My Child Without Limits 

Photos: Pixabay
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