How Do I Know If My Child Needs Physiotherapy?

By Devan Mercereau, Physiotherapist

Pediatric Physiotherapy assesses and treats children ages 0-18 years of age. Our treatments for infants and children vary depending on presenting conditions and concerns. Your Pediatric Physiotherapist will go through a full assessment with your child and based on the diagnosis, treatments may include:

  • Soft tissue work
  • Facilitation of movements and positions
  • Alternative strategies to increase the efficiency of movements
  • Taping
  • Modalities
  • Plenty of education

Signs Your Child May Need Pediatric Physiotherapy

Let’s take a closer look by breaking the age groups down into infants, toddlers, children, and school age/teens:

How Do You Know If Your Infant Needs Physiotherapy?

Pediatric Physiotherapy is not only for the child but also for the parents! Throughout the first year of life, there are a lot of changes infants go through. The developmental milestones are important at each stage to help with ease of movement, increase independence, and improve coordination later in life. So why does a baby need physiotherapy? Some reasons may include:

#1: Developmental Delay

If you are noticing that your infant is behind on their milestones, or is “stuck” at a stage, Pediatric Physiotherapy can help! As a reminder, here is a link to the developmental milestones that most infants hit within the first two years of their life that include things like:

  • Holding their head up
  • Rolling over
  • Sitting
  • Crawling
  • Standing and walking

Along with developmental delays, babies sometimes will favor one direction or position (ie: rolling in one direction, preferring propped sitting, decreased tummy time tolerance, etc.). It is important to help facilitate infants in all positions and directions to increase body awareness and coordination. You may also notice atypical movement patterns that a Pediatric Physiotherapist can address.

If you are noticing any of these things with your child for more than 3-4 weeks, your Pediatric Physio can help with strategies to help facilitate movements and provide education to help.

#2: Head Shape

Are you noticing flattening on the back of your child’s head or maybe on just one side? This is often from the infant spending more time on the back of their head or favoring facing one direction. If you are noticing this, it is ideal to seek advice around the 3-4 month age to help with alternative positioning and education.

When Should Toddlers and Children See a Physiotherapist?

Toddlers and children can be clumsy and uncoordinated. We want to look at the overall alignment of limbs, strength, and coordination of movements through play, walking, running, and skipping. If you have any concerns with any of these listed above, notice these are present for 3 months or longer, or you notice your child displaying atypical patterns more than 20% of the time, it is recommended to seek a consultation from a Pediatric Physio.

Our Pediatric Physiotherapists are also able to assess and help with pediatric pelvic health concerns. This may present as frequent constipation, difficulties with potty training, or frequent bed wetting.

School Age/Teens

Pediatric Physiotherapy can help with general injuries, sports related injuries, and age- or growth-related conditions in school-aged children and teenagers.

#1: General Injuries or Sports Related Injuries

It is important to address injuries in childhood and adolescence to help decrease compensatory patterns as we age. If we can rehabilitate these injuries at a young age, we can keep your child or teen’s body moving efficiently over time. If your child or teen has an injury or complaint, Pediatric Physiotherapy can treat these concerns with soft tissue work, modalities, and exercises.

#2: Age and Growth-Related Conditions

If your child is complaining of focal pain in the heel or just below the kneecap, these can be growth-related conditions such as: Sever’s Disease or Osgood-Schlatter’s. A Pediatric Physiotherapist can help with exercises and education to help decrease pain and improve function!

If you have any questions about if your child needs physiotherapy, feel free to reach out to our clinic or book an appointment online with one of our Pediatric Physiotherapists by clicking here.