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HomeHealth articlesphysical therapyHow to Know If a Child Needs Physiotherapy?

Is Physiotherapy Safe for Children?

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5 min read


Physiotherapy aids in the development, rehabilitation, and enhancement of children's movement skills. This article explains its advantages and benefits.

Medically reviewed by

Mohammed Wajid

Published At October 26, 2022
Reviewed AtOctober 26, 2022

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy consists of a variety of workouts and exercises that target certain muscles and motions in order to strengthen muscles and tendons. Although the physiotherapists with whom your child will work are specifically qualified and skilled in pediatric diagnoses and injuries, physiotherapy is quite similar to going to the gym and working with a personal trainer. Because children are growing while potentially recovering, it is critical that they adhere to their physiotherapy routine as strictly as possible. Because they are growing, it is even more critical to address any concerns as soon as possible. Physiotherapy is just as important for children as it is for adults. While we may feel that children are naturally resilient and recover from injuries faster than adults since they are still growing, it is precisely this growth and development that distinguishes children's demands. The musculoskeletal and neurological systems of children are put under diverse stresses during growth spurts. So physiotherapists play a crucial role in a child's health and well-being.

Why Physiotherapy For Children?

Pediatric physiotherapy research has shown that it can help affected children regain movement and bodily function, as well as help them realize their full potential, develop in an age-appropriate manner, and have a decent quality of life. Children have unique physical, developmental, mental, and emotional needs that must be taken into account for the best results.

What Can Physiotherapy Help Children Improve On?

Physiotherapists employ a variety of treatments to help people gain strength, improve their movement, and increase the abilities they require to do activities like:

  • Developmental activities, like walking.

  • Balance and coordination activities.

  • Safety and prevention programs.

  • Improving circulation around injuries by using heat, cold, exercise, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasound.

  • Training to build strength around an injury.

  • Flexibility exercises to increase range of motion.

  • Instruction on how to avoid injuries.

How to Know If a Child Needs Physiotherapy?

Your child may benefit from physiotherapy if:

  • They are not reaching the expected developmental milestones during the first year of life, like rolling, sitting, standing, and walking.

  • They walk in an atypical manner.

  • They have difficulty matching up with their peers during playing and activity times.

  • They cannot perform the gross motor tasks like hopping, jumping, and skipping the same as their fellow students.

  • They frequently trip and fall when walking and standing.

  • They are strongly urged to turn their head to one side or use one side of their body.

  • They frequently complain of pain when performing gross motor tasks.

  • They were injured and cannot perform at their earlier level of function.

Physical therapy is also helpful for:

  • Delays in development.

  • Injuries from overuse.

  • Muscle diseases.

  • Genetic abnormalities.

  • Congenital disabilities.

  • Injuries to the head.

  • Surgical recovery.

Any of the above-mentioned conditions could affect your child’s capacity to grow, walk or talk normally. But many of these conditions can be improved or sometimes even prevented with physical therapy.

Who Can Benefit From Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy can benefit anyone who has difficulties with their physical skills. It helps infants and children with:

  • Gross motor delay.

  • Cerebral palsy.

  • Developmental coordination disorder.

  • Down syndrome.

  • Spina bifida.

  • Torticollis/plagiocephaly.

  • Autism spectrum disorder.

  • Other genetic disorders.

  • Weight challenges.

  • Acquired brain injury.

  • Hypotonia.

  • Muscular dystrophy or other neuromuscular challenges.

  • Athletes.

During your visit, the physiotherapist may:

  • Measure a child’s flexibility and strength.

  • Recommend when returning to sports is safe.

  • Analyze how a child walks and runs.

  • Identify existing and potential problems.

  • Provide instructions for home exercise programs.

Physiotherapists are trained to examine mobility and physical development. They offer advice and support on developing your child's movement abilities to achieve maximum independence.

Everyday, there will be progress. Therefore, taking advantage of these opportunities is critical to aiding your child's development. Always keep in mind that you are your child's best instructor.

What Do Physiotherapists Do?

Children's physiotherapists assess and treat children from age one who have respiratory, developmental, musculoskeletal, neurological, or other disorders. They collaborate closely with parents, physicians, teachers, and school nurses to determine the child's specific needs. This involves investigating:

  • The performance of movements, balance, and coordination.

  • Gait problems due to in-toeing, flat feet, toe walking, or falls.

  • The ability to carry out activities of daily living.

  • Developmental milestones such as crawling, sitting unaided, and walking.

  • Musculoskeletal problems include developmental dysplasia of the hip, hypermobility, and osgood-schlatter’s syndrome.

  • Respiratory function and management of infections.

The goal of the assessment is to obtain as much information as possible to assist the physiotherapist in identifying areas that need to be improved and determining how to do so. This data is utilized to create a carefully tailored treatment and exercise program that is most successful for that specific child.

To maintain interest and motivation throughout the program, special attention is paid to ensuring that all activities are safe, stimulating, and enjoyable.

What Are Physical Therapy Treatments for Children?

The approaches and treatments we employ in child-focused physical therapy sessions vary from case to case since specific illnesses and symptoms vary from child to child.

Physiotherapy for children, as it does for adults, involves a wide range of activities, from solitary exercises to managing obstacles while walking to ball exercises, climbing, swimming, and more.

These activities are divided into five categories, each of which is suited to the child's individual needs and therapy goals:

  • Respiratory care, including chest clearance and fitness training.

  • Manual therapy, where the therapist uses their hands to improve joint and muscle movements.

  • Splinting and orthotics.

  • Adaptive movements help your child overcome any permanent physical disability.

  • For the improvement of muscle control, coordination, and balance movements.

  • Physical therapists also provide instructions and homecare advice for better posture to reduce the risk of injuries in the future.

  • Hydrotherapy, in which physiotherapy exercises are performed in water.

  • Flexibility and stretching exercises help to improve mobility.

  • Water-based exercises to reduce the impact on joints.

  • Electrotherapy.

  • Heat and cold therapy.

  • Ultrasound for improving the circulation in injuries.

  • Training exercises that help to gain strength.

What Are the Safety Measures Taken During Physical Therapy for Children?

Even though physical therapy is a non-invasive, safe treatment, nothing is completely risk-free, thus, there is some risk involved in physical therapy. The actual risk, on the other hand, is essentially non-existent.

In rare circumstances, your child may express dissatisfaction with the therapy session afterward. This is a common occurrence. A certain level of soreness is to be expected after physical therapy, especially in the early stages and during your child's first few appointments.

Physical therapy also includes dealing with your child's delicate and potentially weak body components. Afterward, those places may be sore, and your child may complain of being more tired than normal.

If your child has pain or any other negative symptom as a result of their sessions, make sure to inform their therapist. They will figure out if the session's movements worsened anything and adjust future sessions accordingly.

Another factor to take care of is that if your child is overly excited, we may need to use caution to avoid overdoing it. The homecare exercises we suggest come with instructions for how many times your child should do them.

This number should not be exceeded. It is critical to ensure that your child only exercises the prescribed number of times in order for them to heal safely and quickly and avoid additional injury.


Many physical therapy treatments are designed to assist your child in developing as much independence as possible so that they can enjoy their childhood and transition into adulthood positively. Physiotherapy can also help children without mobility or functional difficulties improve their physical fitness and overall well-being.

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Mohammed Wajid
Mohammed Wajid



physical therapy
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