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Physical Therapy

Angela Corr with patient Lin

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

Pediatric physical therapists help your child perform physical activities and improve movement. Physical therapists use exercise, play and special equipment to help your child become more independent and safe at home, school and in the community. Your child may see a physical therapist for help in any of the following areas:

  • Decreased strength to perform daily activities
  • Increased tiredness while trying to do daily activities
  • Decreased movement at joints
  • Impaired balance or coordination

Your physical therapist will help make daily movement easier by teaching your child to use different types of equipment. Those can include wheelchairs, leg braces, back and neck braces, stockings for swelling, and prosthetics. Your physical therapist may also help your child to learn to use a walker, crutches or cane.

Your child may take part in one or more of the following tests:

  • Movement test – How a person changes positions from one place to another, as well as how often and how well those changes occur
  • Developmental test – How well an infant or child performs age-appropriate movement skills such as rolling, sitting, crawling, standing and walking
  • Muscle and joint test – How strong, limber and aligned the child’s arms, legs, trunk, and neck muscles are
  • Endurance test – How long a child’s body and muscles can move without becoming tired
  • Balance test – How the body responds to movement of sitting and standing
  • Neuromuscular test – How well the nerves work to help with movement including reflexes, muscle tone, strength, sensation, posture and control
  • Skin test – How the skin looks, including any swelling

Read Physical Therapy Education Materials