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Raising Children
to Their Highest Potential

Physical Therapists

Hannah Mithoefer, PT, DPT

Pediatric physical therapists are trained and licensed health care professionals who evaluate and treat children with physical impairments, disabilities and functional limitations resulting from injury or disease. They address the needs of children by helping them restore, maintain and attain optimal physical function. They also help to prevent injury and loss of movement in children. A pediatric physical therapist works with a child’s family, in order to empower the family with the ability to maximize the child’s function at home, at school and in the community.

Learn more about Physical Therapy

There are a variety of reasons a child may need physical therapy. Some common diagnoses seen by pediatric physical therapists include:

  • PTbabyCerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Developmental delay
  • Coordination and balance disorders
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Tight heel cords
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Amputations
  • Torticollis
  • Musculoskeletal injuries

Children may need physical therapy for any number of reasons, including if you answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

  • Is your child tripping or falling down a lot?
  • Have trouble sitting up straight?
  • Get tired quickly while playing?
  • Complain of pain in joints, feet or muscles?
  • Toe walking?
  • Appear "floppy" or low tone?
  • Have an abnormal head shape continuing beyond 6 weeks of age?
  • Behind in age-appropriate gross motor skills such as rolling, crawling or walking?
  • Sustained an injury such as broken arm or leg, sprained knee or ankle, had surgery, etc.?
  • Have a consistent head tilt to one side?
  • Have abnormal muscle tone?

There are many benefits of pediatric physical therapy. Some include:

  • Improved gross motor development
  • Improved balance
  • Improved coordination
  • Increased muscular strength and range of motion
  • Improved walking pattern
  • Increased endurance
  • Normalization of muscle tone
  • Promotion of healthy and active lifestyle
  • Prevention of injuries
  • Maximized independence

Pediatric physical therapy can provide great results in:

  • pt-page-picture-2015Muscle control and coordination
  • Stretching and lengthening of tight muscles and tendons
  • Strengthening weak muscles
  • Improved endurance
  • Gross motor development throughout body
  • Gait and mobility training with or without adaptive equipment
  • Balance and coordination
  • Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
  • Promotion of a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Core strengthening
  • Myofascial release
  • Family and client education

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General Development Guidelines

Children develop and grow at different rates. However, there are some general guidelines that may help you assess your child’s development. Listed below is an abbreviated list of developmental milestones to watch for as your child grows. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk with your pediatrician or contact us.

For a month-by-month breakdown, view the guidelines below.

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