Seven Signs Your Child May Need Physical Therapy

Watching your child grow up and reach different milestones is always joyful. However, it can be a concern if your child is missing certain milestones or struggling with their motor skills. Kids all develop at their own pace, but there may be times when an underlying condition is causing problems with their movement. In these cases, your pediatrician may refer you to a physical therapist.  

In this blog, we will explore what physical therapy is and how to identify the signs that your child may need physical therapy. 

What is physical therapy?  

Simply put, physical therapy helps people move their bodies better. It is especially helpful after any form of surgery or if someone has a disability or injury.

With all the bouncing, running, and playing that kids love to do, there will be times when there are accidents or sports injuries. For example, if a child breaks their leg or tears a muscle during sports, a physical therapist could help them by teaching them how to use crutches, guiding them through targeted stretches/movements, and helping them improve their range of exercises throughout their recovery.

Physical Therapy for Children in Littleton

Conditions that physical therapy can help kids with

Physical therapy is commonly associated with helping kids recover from sports injuries. However, it can be used for the treatment of various conditions and symptoms in kids of all ages when problems with their movement impact their daily activities. Your pediatrician may recommend it for kids with the following:

  • Developmental delays
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Heart and lung conditions
  • Head injuries
  • Genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome
  • Childhood obesity
  • Mobility issues related to autism and ADHD

Treatment aims to help your child with their movement so they can lead an active lifestyle. Your child may need physical therapy if you notice any of the following signs.  

  • Limited Mobility – If your little one finds it difficult to move around freely, be it crawling, walking, or running, physical therapy can support them with balance, coordination, and a greater range of movement. 
  • Poor Posture – Some kids struggle to sit or stand straight, causing them to slouch a lot. Older kids can develop poor posture from sitting down or using electronic devices for long periods. Movement and learning to sit properly can help with this, and a physical therapist can help children with their posture.  
  • Problems with balance – When your child starts walking, there will be plenty of falls and tumbles as they figure out how to put one foot in front of the other. However, suppose you notice that they regularly fall over or struggle with their balance when they walk, run, or even sit. In that case, a physical therapist can support them in improving their balance and coordination.
  • Delays in motor skills development – From the moment your child is born, there are many milestones in their development, such as learning to crawl, jump, draw, and play games. In some cases, a child might struggle to meet these milestones due to a musculoskeletal or neurological delay, which can be a source of frustration for the child. A physical therapist can support your child through games and play to develop these skills in a way that works for them.  
  • Muscle weakness – Certain conditions, such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, cause muscle weakness in kids. Physical therapy is often used to support the development and movement of kids.  
  • Joint pain – If your child complains about joint pain that is severe or doesn’t go away after a few days, book an appointment with an experienced pediatrician. A physical therapist can help your child get relief from the symptoms and discomfort associated with movement.  
  • Unusual movement patterns – If your child walks on their tip-toes all the time, regularly trips over their feet, or walks awkwardly, it can have an impact on their daily activities and lead to chronic pain and long-term musculoskeletal problems. A physical therapist can help your child with coordination and develop better motor skills, which may be particularly beneficial for kids on the autism spectrum.

If you have concerns about your child’s growth and development or think they may need physical therapy, book an appointment today for a checkup with one of our board-certified pediatricians.