What Conditions Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat?

What Conditions Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat?

Children’s physiotherapy can completely change a child’s life by minimising symptoms from pre-existing conditions, promoting recovery from injuries or surgery and improving their fine motor skills. This in turn benefits their overall quality of life and ability to interact with the world easier. In this blog, Therapy Stars outline the common conditions we see in our clinic and how children’s physiotherapy can be used to treat them.

So what conditions can children’s physiotherapy treat? Children’s physiotherapy can treat a large range of conditions including genetic, developmental, orthopaedic and neurological. The treatment can be tailored to individual children’s needs, even helping them recover healthily from an injury or correcting their posture, improving their overall quality of life. 

Read on to find out more about the many conditions children’s physiotherapy can treat.

What Types of Conditions Can be Treated Using Children’s Physiotherapy?

Children’s physiotherapy can help with a large range of conditions, including managing recovery after an injury and preventing further injuries, allowing children to return to activities as quickly as possible. These can be split into four categories: genetic, developmental, orthopaedic and neurological.

How Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat Genetic Conditions?

Genetic disorders develop when a child inherits an altered gene from their parents, or when a gene change occurs before birth. Genetic health conditions can run in families, meaning children are more likely to develop them. Children’s physiotherapy can be used to treat the following conditions, amongst others:

ConditionHow Physiotherapy can help
Rett SyndromeIt is important to encourage a good range of motion in children with Rett Syndrome, to prevent or at least delay physical contractures. Physiotherapy can support them by:

Improving their movement abilities
Reducing contractures through stretches
Regular standing to improve bone density
Improving balance
Improving posture
Assessing the child for appropriate adaptive aids and equipment
Down’s SyndromeDown’s Syndrome can affect a child’s development physically, mentally and their ability to learn, alongside causing other health problems. Children’s physiotherapy can help them work towards and reach their developmental milestones by:

Strengthening their muscles
Increasing their range of motion and joint and core stability
Improving posture
Normalising or improving muscle tone
Muscular DystrophyMuscular Dystrophy can cause issues with movement, muscle stiffness and weakness, back pain and overall tiredness in children. It may also affect their ability to learn, speak and general behaviour. Physiotherapy can help manage these symptoms through:

Introducing range of motion exercises, stretches, hydrotherapy and other low impact exercise to improve stamina and reduce fatigue
Improving posture and positioning
Proving advice on mechanical supports
Spinal Muscular AtrophySpinal Muscular Atrophy often causes difficulties with physical movement including walking, breathing and swallowing. Children’s physiotherapy can support the improvement of quality of life and improve range of movement through:

Improve range of motion
Preventing soft tissue shortening
Improving posture and positioning
Maximising respiration and muscle strength
Introducing stretches, breathing exercises, hydrotherapy and advice on orthotics and equipment

Children with any of the above conditions can benefit from children’s physiotherapy. The common treatments recommended for genetic disorders include:

  • Dynamic MovementIntervention (DMI) therapy
  • Whole body vibration machine to help with reducing spasticity, improving muscle strength and balance, and relaxation
  • Flexi Bounce Therapy
  • Treadmill Therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Neuro-Muscular Electrical Stimulation – use of electrodes on muscles to help with sensory feedback, muscle innervation, and timing
  • Exercise programmes
  • Strength exercises
  • Stability and balance exercises
  • Stretches
  • Postural advice
  • Hydrotherapy

This list is not exhaustive, so you can contact a children’s physiotherapist to discuss your child’s needs and see how they can help. 

How Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat Developmental Delay?

Developmental conditions are conditions that impair physical, learning, language or behavioural development in children, meaning they may not reach their full developmental potential. Physiotherapy can help individual children with the correct treatment for their specific condition. Starting with an initial assessment is the perfect way to ensure that the best course of treatment is chosen. Treatments can include:

  • Introducing strength, range of motion, balance, posture and coordination exercises and stretches
  • Introducing activities to improve head and trunk control
  • Exercises to increase the child’s independence
  • Providing advice to parents and schools to encourage development outside of clinic sessions
  • Whole body vibration machines can be used to help reduce muscle spasticity, improve muscle strength, balance and relaxation

Other developmental conditions that can be treated through children’s physiotherapy include Developmental Coordination Disorder, Dyspraxia and general problems with balance and coordination. 

How Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat Orthopaedic Conditions?

Orthopaedic conditions often include defects in children’s bones, muscles and limbs, causing pain, injuries and affecting motor skills. Children’s physiotherapy can be used to treat the following orthopaedic conditions:

ConditionHow Physiotherapy can help
HypermobilityHypermobility can cause issues such as acute or traumatic sprains, tears, joint instability, arthritis, bruising, fractures, tendonitis, scoliosis, nerve compression, back pain, leg pains, and more. Physiotherapy can be used to help these symptoms through:

Helping the child to pace activities in order to reduce fatigue.
Introducing stretches, strengthening, proprioception, mobilisation and motion control exercises
Activity modifications can help children reach their full potential in an accommodating way
PlagiocephalyBabies born with a flat spot on their skull or that develop later can have limited movement in the neck or Torticollis. Children’s physiotherapy can help improve this condition over time with exercises that encourage movement and advice on how to position and exercise a baby to improve their head shape.
Torticollis Torticollis presents in children as their chin pointing towards one of their shoulders and a tilted head due to muscle tightening, weakening or thickening. It is often noticed as a head turn preference. This can lead to other conditions and affect other parts of movement including balance, body awareness and flattening of the skull. Physiotherapy can help by:

Introducing stretching and strength exercises for the neck and back
Improving posture and positioning
Providing advice for an at-home exercise program
Gait AbnormalitiesWhen children are learning to walk, there is potential for you to notice gait abnormalities during physical development. Gait abnormalities can turn into other conditions including in-toeing and out-toeing. Physiotherapy can help to rectify the problem by introducing:

Gait practice with the use of supports 
Mirror imaging
Balance training
Activities, exercises and stretches to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion

Other orthopaedic conditions that can be treated with children’s physiotherapy include Talipes, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis, joint and muscle injuries and post fracture or surgery rehab, however this list is not exhaustive. 

How Can Children’s Physiotherapy Treat Neurological Conditions?

Neurological conditions affect how children think, learn and develop and can be associated with other conditions such as epilepsy and movement disorders. Common neurological conditions that children’s physiotherapy can treat include:

ConditionHow physiotherapy can help
Cerebral PalsyCerebral Palsy in children affects motor functions including body movement, control of muscles and coordination. Physiotherapy can help with this by:

Increasing mobility
Improving muscle strength and activation
Promoting physical development
Decreasing muscle tightness and spasms
Promote independent movement.
Acquired/Traumatic Brain InjuryBrain injuries can affect children’s thinking, development and how they act. Physiotherapy can help by:

Maximising the child’s physical ability and developmental potential
Helping them learn or relearn key skills
Improve muscle strength, balance and posture
Relieve pain
Promote independence and improve their overall quality of life

Other neurological disorders that children’s physiotherapy can help with include Hypertonia-High Muscle Tone/Stiffness, Hypotonia-Low Muscle Tone/Floppiness and Rare neurological conditions. This list is not exhaustive, child physiotherapists can treat a large range of conditions, so book a call to discuss your needs

Children’s Physiotherapy at Therapy Stars

At Therapy Stars, our Child Physiotherapy services are available from birth, right up to the age of 18, and beyond where needed. We can tailor our treatment to your child based on their existing conditions, injury or other needs. 

Book a complimentary call with our friendly team today to discuss your child’s needs and create a plan specific to them.