child riding a bike 

Kid Physiotherapy Through The Years

From birth to 18 years of age, children are at their prime for physical and neurodevelopmental growth. During this rapidly changing phase, it is important to provide the best environment possible to support their growth.

Each stage of your child’s growth, from babies through to teens, presents their own unique set of checkpoints and challenges.

Baby And Infant Physiotherapy

Being a parent can be quite daunting at times. This is especially so when you are unsure whether what your child is experiencing is a part of normal growth or not. This is the most important phase to establish your child’s skeletal structure and foundational skills.

Some of the reasons you might want to bring your child to see your pediatric physiotherapist during these early formative years may include concerns including:

  • Colicky
  • Feeding difficulty
  • Fine motor skills delay – Having a hard time picking up food with their fingers or drinking from a training or sippy cup
  • Gross motor skills delay – Delays in rolling, crawling, standing etc
  • Skipping a gross motor skill – For example, they skip the crawling phase and start straight to walking
  • Sleep issues
  • Speech delay – Sometimes due to weakness in their facial oral muscles
  • Suspected reflux
young ballerinas

Primary School Aged Children

This is the phase where their bodies are undergoing an accelerated rate of physical growth. They are also exposed to more physical challenges with their activities.

Many parents start enrolling their children in extracurricular activities such as swimming, soccer, hockey, dance, softball or gymnastics. All of these activities involve complex motor planning, coordination and cognition.

Children develop this cognitive-motor patterning at a different rate. This is usually when parents hear about their children complaining of pain in their body such as in their ankles, feet, knees, elbows or shoulders.

Assessment and prevention

Even if their complaints are short-lived, it may be a good idea to have an experienced kid physio assess your child. They can help identify the cause and prevent or reduce the impact of future injuries.

Teenagers

As your child goes through puberty, their sudden physical growth may not be at the same rate as their musculoskeletal growth. You may find your child becoming less flexible, more clumsy or their posture may become more slouched. They may appear uncoordinated or get injured easily.

This is mostly because their postural muscles have not caught up to their quick physical lengthening. Another reason is the increased level of physical activity needed for their recreational or competitive activities.

Disconnect

There is often a disconnect between their body growth rate and brain communication needed for optimal motor patterning. This can lead to growing pains. During this phase, a preventative rehabilitation program that conditions their postural muscles may help speed up and improve their body and brain communication.

physiotherapy exercise with resistance bands

Ways Your Kids Physio In Burnaby Can Help

Physiotherapists trained in childhood development are experts in identifying potential issues and can address these problems effectively.

Your child’s physiotherapist can focus on improving any of the following goals with your child:

  • Athletic performance
  • Balance
  • Cognition
  • Confidence
  • Coordination
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Gross motor skills
  • Injury prevention
  • Mobility
  • Motivation
  • Motor planning
  • Strength

Growth Plates

Your child’s growth plates are found at the ends of their long bones. For example, this includes some of the bones in their arms, legs, fingers and toes. These zones are where much of your child’s growth occurs. As your child matures, these growth plates eventually close and fuse, signaling the end of their growth.

Simple injuries

An injury at or near their growth plates may affect your child’s ability to grow at that specific body area and possible at areas further away. This could potentially cause an imbalance in their skeletal structure.

Even a simple ankle sprain can affect how your child walks. It may impact the stimulation to the growth plates at their ankle joint causing their foot to develop either a toe turned in or turned out walking pattern

Get Help For Your Child With Pediatric Physiotherapy Near You

Speak with your Burnaby pediatric physiotherapist to get help for your child. From sports injuries to growth issues, your physio can help answer your questions about your child’s health and injuries.

Phone 604-738-1168

FAQ

Q: How often and for how long should my child see a physio for their problem?

A: This will depend on the goals of you and your child, the extent of their problem and your physiotherapist’s assessment findings. In general, visits are recommended 1-2x/week for 4 weeks as a starting point for mild to moderate injury rehab. However, if the goal goes beyond eliminating pain and more towards preventing future injuries, their treatment duration may go beyond 4 weeks

Q: My child does not sit still for more than 5 minutes. How will I be able to get them to come for a 30 minute appointment?

A: Your physiotherapists and assistants are experienced in working with kids. The session is always child-led in combination with your therapist’s guidance. This means that it can always be modified and accommodated according to what your child is ready for that day.

You may see that progress is slow at the beginning but these early stages of building trust is fundamental to a successful outcome, especially for younger children. You may want to bring in your child’s favorite toys or special activities that are only allowed during these session times to help ease their transition

Q: My child has a physical disability and requires ongoing physiotherapy

A: If your child is able to transfer independently (move from one position to another), your physiotherapist can assess your child’s physical ability and come up with physical mobility goals. The exercise sessions may also be delegated to a physiotherapy assistant for 1:1 sessions. There will be reassessments at regular intervals completed by your physiotherapist