Pediatric Physical Therapy: Uses, Methods and Benefits

Children physical therapy is done to enhance the overall motor ability, gait, balance, stability, agility, posture, strength, functional ability, and strengthening of the lower limbs to improve the daily lives of children who suffered from injury or with inborn conditions. It also assists in improving the lives of children with delayed physical and cognitive development. Patients age range from new born up to 18 years of age. The treatment is done by a physical therapist, but the success lies with the efforts of parents and upon consultation with paediatricians, neurosurgeons, orthopaedics, and coaches.
The physical therapy is performed to treat injuries such as back pain, fractures, scoliosis, traumatic brain injury, and sports injuries. In certain cases, the therapy helps in reviving the interest of children to sports after suffering and upon recovering from a sport related injury. It is also used to treat genetic conditions that present motor function disability such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spina Bifida. Other conditions include juvenile attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and cancer (
Various treatments can be employed when undergoing pediatric physical therapy. Aquatic therapy provides an environment where gravity is reduce, making movement easier compared to making the same motion on the ground. The water resistance provides a safe environment for training. The pool is usually heated and salted. The water surroundings help in relaxing the children’s muscle during session. The therapy is availed by children with weak muscles, abnormal muscle tone, decreased muscle mobility and endurance.

Electrical stimulation is a non-invasive method where a small electrical current is passed through the muscles of the children. It improves the coordination, endurance, strength, and sensory feedback of the affected muscle. Gait training is given to improve balance and posture when walking for children with decreased strength and weak coordination of the lower extremities. Training includes treadmill exercises to strengthen the legs, enhance endurance, and improve muscle memory. The end goal of the therapy is to allow the child to walk without the aid of any support system.

Gait therapy using treadmill. (

Kinesiotaping helps in rehabilitating injured muscles to improve the muscle function, performance, and coordination. It also helps in muscle recovery. Other therapy methods include manual therapy, motor control, motor learning, and neurodevelopmental treatment ( Manual physiotherapy exercises are given to improve muscle strength of children with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. The exercises that can be done by children are recommended and supervised by a physical therapist. Example of physiotherapy exercise can be viewed in the following video.


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