- Child is falling a lot.
- Child is not keeping up with peers.
- Child might have gross motor delays.
Physical Therapy looks at the body as a whole taking into account the musculoskeletal, neurological, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems to identify impairments that may be contributing to atypical movement patterns and developmental delays.
Does your child walk on their toes? Does your child walk with their toes facing inward or outward? Do your child’s knees deviate inward or outward? Atypical walking patterns interfere with our body’s natural movement patterns and puts increased stress on muscles, joints, and ligaments. Atypical walking patterns also alter our base of support resulting in decreased balance or increased fall risk. At Bayside, a Physical Therapist will determine the underlying cause of your child’s walking deficit and a specialized treatment plan will be created based on your child’s needs. By incorporating stretching, strengthening, and specialized medical equipment your child can achieve age appropriate walking that will set them up for success through child and adulthood.
Did you know that our ability to balance is dependent on three different systems working together: Visual, Vestibular, and Proprioceptive. Together these three systems allow your child to stand upright, walk, turn, and negotiate their environment safely. If you observe that your child has decreased balance or frequent falls, then one of these systems may not be working properly. The visual system relies on the ability of your child’s eyes to provide accurate feedback about where they are in relation to the world around them. The vestibular system relies on the inner ear to detect gravity, linear movement (forward, backward, up, down), and rotational movement to provide accurate feedback about spatial orientation and equilibrium. The proprioceptive system relies on our skin, muscles, and joints responding to stretch and pressure to provide accurate feedback about how our body is positioned in space. In Physical Therapy, we will work to strengthen any impaired balance systems through skilled integration techniques, specialized balance training, and therapeutic activities to help improve your child’s safety during functional mobility.
In pediatrics, we measure strength based on your child’s ability to successfully complete gross motor activities: sit, crawl, walk, run, jump, negotiate stairs. If your child is delayed in any gross motor skills, it is likely due to muscle weakness. Muscle weakness can occur on one side of the body or on both sides. Often times, children develop a preferred arm or leg to complete activities. This promotes one sided strengthening while the non-preferred side becomes weaker. Asymmetrical strength can lead to muscle imbalances which may progress into postural abnormalities. In Physical Therapy, you will learn what gross motor skills are age appropriate for your child, which muscles groups are weak, and how to strengthen weak muscles in a fun and interactive way!