The first few years of a child’s life are very important to their growth and motor development. Optimum motor development occurs when infants and toddlers explore different environments and experience diverse movements. Like all creatures, babies and young children develop at different rates and will most often meet developmental “milestones” without much fuss. Sometimes health issues can disrupt growth and motor development, but with the support of a paediatric physiotherapist infants and toddlers can develop good movement for life.
Infants develop motor skills like rolling, sitting, reaching, crawling and walking as they move around and explore new environments. As they grow, and start to participate in more aspects of life, toddlers begin to add to their skills as their balance improves and they start to climb, jump and run. The rate that young kids meet these developmental milestones will vary from child to child; however, different health issues can disrupt their ability to play and interact, which can lead to developmental delay.
If you are concerned that your baby or toddler is not meeting gross motor milestones for their age, Calgary Youth Physiotherapy can help. A thorough assessment by one of our therapists will help to identify areas of delay and reasons why it might be happening. Together with parent/ caregivers, we will set goals and teach infants and their families how to encourage movement that strengthen muscles and develop balance and posture.
If your baby is showing signs of either issue paediatric physiotherapy can help. Treatment of both torticollis and flat head may consist of stretching and strengthening of the affected neck muscles. Our physiotherapists will work closely with parents to engage in daily routines that involve gentle stretching, carrying baby in ways to encourage them to look in their non-preferred direction, plenty of ‘tummy-time’ and ideas for play that can help with development.
Depending on the severity of the flatness of the head and the age of the baby, in moderate and severe cases our physiotherapist may make a referral for further consultation regarding the need for helmet therapy.
The shape of children’s feet and legs change throughout infancy and childhood. There are many variations in shape that may cause concern for parents and caregivers such as Genu Valgum (“Knock Knees”), Genu Varum (“Bow Legs”), In-toeing (“Pigeon toed”), Out-toeing. Often these will correct themselves over time. If alignment does not improve, treatment might be helpful.
As legs and feet grow and change so does a child’s gait (the way they walk). If there is a problem with leg/foot alignment it may lead to an abnormal gait. Gait is dependent on bone alignment of the legs and lower body but also on muscle imbalance (strength/weakness), tone, balance issues, paediatric conditions or pain. It is important to address an abnormal gait because it can affect a child’s daily activities.
If your child is delayed in walking, if you notice they trip a lot or if they show functional difficulties when walking or running a physio visit might be in order.
Calgary Youth physiotherapists are skilled at analysing babies’, toddlers’ and youngsters’ legs, feet and gait. After going through a detailed assessment with your child, we will explain what is causing the problem and advise on how to help. This may include a stretching routine, strengthening exercises to combat muscle imbalance, ideas for play that improve balance and endurance, even spending time barefoot or walking and climbing on varying terrain to help develop muscles.
Flat feet and pronation, “growing pains” and joint pains, toe walking, hip dysplasia, hypotonia.