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Child-walking-frame-smPediatric Physiotherapists are movement specialists for babies, children and adolescents. It is a clinical area of physiotherapy that aims to improve a child’s movement abilities through the use of methods such as movement training, strengthening, exercise, stretching, adapted equipment, motor learning and play as well as education.

Helping children with physiotherapy is quite different to helping adults, from an anatomical, physiological and psychological point of view. At Dharaskar Children Hospital’s physiotherapies for kids we believe that to treat children effectively, all these issues need to be considered. Our Pediatric Physiotherapists are highly skilled professionals, who use the latest assessment tools and interventions to devise quality programs to meet your child’s goals. We believe that we can assist with any problem, small or large.

Our physical therapists possess over 50 years combined experience helping children remain motivated and positive towards their physiotherapy and have found this to be an essential ingredient in their progress. Dharaskar Children Hospitals physiotherapy for kids is committed to early intervention programs and post intervention support to provide positive outcomes long term.

How can physical therapy help your child?

A Pediatric Physiotherapist offers early intervention for children who may have neurological and developmental delays as well as sensory impairments related to hearing and vision. Physiotherapy also helps children with biomechanical, positional and sports injuries. Some children may present with multiple issues that can be helped by seeing a Pediatric Physiotherapist. Some examples of common concerns that parents may have include:

  • Premature babies (<36 weeks gestational age) or low birth weight babies (<1500g)
  • Newborn babies having difficulty turning their heads
  • Newborn babies not tolerating tummy time
  • Newborn babies having flat spots on the back or side of their heads, especially after 7 weeks old
  • Babies and toddlers who have difficulty with rolling, sitting, crawling and walking
  • Toddlers with pigeon toes, bow legs, in-rolling ankles, knock knees.
  • Children who have difficulties with coordination, balance, walking and running
  • Frequent falls, poor balance and coordination
  • Children and teenagers who have any sports related injuries
  • Children with poor posture or children who complain of frequent muscular pain

Some contributing factors to delayed or poor quality motor development are:

  • low muscle tone/strength/endurance
  • poor or under-developed coordination
  • poor or under-developed balance
  • poor or under-developed core/trunk stability
  • less than ideal body/joint mechanics or alignment
  • communication challenges
  • sensory challenges
  • injury – this can include injuries to the musculoskeletal system (i.e. sports injuries) or the neurological system (i.e. traumatic brain injury)
  • the environment

Physical Therapy Basics

Doctors often recommend physical therapy (PT) for kids and teens who have been injured or who have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability.

After an injury, physical therapists work to decrease pain and help kids return to daily activities. They teach kids exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion, and also show kids and families how to prevent future injuries.

Physical therapy might be needed any time a problem with movement limits someone’s daily activities. So doctors often recommend PT for kids with:

  • sports injuries
  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy
  • genetic disorders
  • orthopedic disabilities/injuries
  • heart and lung conditions
  • birth defects (such as spina bifida)
  • effects of in-utero drug or alcohol exposure
  • acute trauma
  • head injury
  • limb deficiencies
  • muscle diseases

What Physical Therapists Do

Physical therapists use a variety of treatments to help build strength, improve movement, and strengthen skills needed to complete daily activities.

Physical therapists might guide kids through:

  • Developmental activities, such as crawling and walking
  • Balance and coordination activities
  • Adaptive play
  • Aquatic (water) therapy
  • Improving circulation around injuries by using heat, cold, exercise, electrical stimulation, massage, and ultrasound
  • Training to build strength around an injury
  • Flexibility exercises to increase range of motion
  • Instruction on how to avoid injuries
  • Safety and prevention programs

During a visit, a physical therapist may:

  • Measure a child’s flexibility and strength
  • Analyze how a child walks and runs (the child’s gait)
  • Identify existing and potential problems
  • Consult with other medical, psychiatric, and school personnel about an individual education plan (IEP)
  • Provide instructions for home exercise programs
  • Recommend when returning to sports is safe