Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation for Children with Walking Difficulties
There can be many reasons as to why a child may need to have physical therapy to help their mobility, balance, posture and co-ordination. It could range from something as simple as a broken bone to an ailment more serious like Cerebal Palsy. Children that have walking difficulties are normally identified from a young age and can receive treatment to help alleviate pain and surgical procedures are often carried out to help the child.
Not all walking abnormalities stem from a medical illness; toe walking is quite common amongst young children and can be something that they grow out of. Toe walking however can be a sign of a deep psychological issue or depression and anxiety within a child. Although a child may receive treatments to help correct or control their walking difficulties from an early age they may still struggle to walk as they get older. It is important that a child receives physical therapy to help strengthen their bones, alleviate pain, and potentially increase mobility.
Benefits of Physical Therapy or Rehabilitation
Any physical activity you undertake is essential in keeping you fit and healthy, every 10 minutes of exercise will count. 60 minutes a day of exercise will be beneficial to both your heart and your bones. Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles and correct the way you walk. It can also help your child’s ability to move and control the pain in joints, muscles and bones. When undergoing physical therapy your assigned therapist will look at the movement and function of the body with particular attention to physical mobility, balance, posture, fatigue and pain.
Conditions and Disorders that Physical Therapy can help
Neurological conditions such as Cerabal Palsy can affect the way we move and maintain balance and posture.
Orthopaedic conditions affect the bones, joints and muscles.
Paediatric disorders can affect the muscles or skeleton of a child like Muscular Dystrophy. This will have an impact on your balance, strength and co-ordination.
Different Fields of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation
Depending on your child’s condition your physical therapist may suggest different forms of Physical therapy.
Massages focus on the soft tissues of the body and can help improve circulation and movement to different parts of the body. It can also help to alleviate pain and induce relaxation.
Electrotherapy is used to stimulate a child’s nervous system to override the messages sent from the brain with regard to pain. It promotes the healing process and helps to increase blood circulation through a series of electric impulses.
Hydrotherapy is used to help improve mobility as the water acts as a stabiliser and will help you to increase muscle strength.
Exercise such as walking and swimming is recommended as it is gentle and can help target certain areas of the body. Walking can help strengthen the body and improve the range of movement your child has. Walking is also an activity that you can enjoy as a family so as a parent you will feel more involved. A great way to help improve your child’s stability and strength is by using a home treadmill. Most treadmills have a sturdy frame to help offer additional support to your child or can be adapted to fit with your child’s needs.
The lowest start up speed in the U.K for a home treadmill is currently 0.3km per hour which is ideal for anyone going through physical therapy or rehabilitation as it is slow and safe. Using a home treadmill can ease the worries that walking outdoors may raise such as the risk of falls due to obstacles or debris in paths. You also don’t have to worry about wet leaves on the pavement or black ice.
Physical therapy can cause a change in lifestyle as it is about a constant approach to improving both fitness levels and improving strength in the muscles and joints. It takes a lot of time and patience but the results will be noticeable.
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