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Muscle and Joint concerns

Muscle tightness: Throughout development, children will undergo changes in muscle length, impacting on their physical function and posture. This is a part of normal development, e.g. during a period of growth, bones tend to grow faster than muscles, causing muscle tightness which may give rise to discomfort, reduced range of movement and consequently altered movement patterns, such as 'toe walking'. This is not an immediate concern and can usually be relieved with basic stretches or may resolve spontaneously, without the need for physiotherapy input. 

Muscle weakness: As above, weakness may also be apparent during growth which affects both range of movement and movement patterns. This can be due to the muscle’s inability to keep up with the rate of bone growth, and a child’s impacted awareness and control of their growing limbs. Weakness may also occur as a consequence of lack of opportunity to engage in physical activity but can be quickly developed with practice/experience. 

Hypermobility: Often, children will have excess range of movement at their joints and may present as “double-jointed”. This is a very common feature, particularly early in development (before 8 years of age), but should not be of concern unless significantly impacting on function and causing pain/discomfort. 

Please note that children with certain long-standing conditions may also present with these symptoms and require more frequent input from physiotherapy services.

What you can do to help

  • Consider the child’s age and stage of development related to milestones, as their physical ability should correlate with their learning levels, e.g. if a 10 year old child is learning at 5 year old level, it would be anticipated that they would experience some physical delay in their skills in line with this.

  • Increase or modify, as necessary, the child’s activity levels to encourage active muscle use (of weak muscles) and dynamic stretching (of tight muscles) with sufficient time to recover in between. Activities such as swimming and cycling are useful as they are low impact so should not exacerbate any discomfort.

  • Consider the child’s usual footwear as the weight and support from shoes can have an impact on a child’s ability to complete an activity, and can help to reduce trips and falls. Shoes with arch support, and that come up around the ankles are usually preferable

Disclaimer - Always seek the advice of your doctor/physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the internet.

Need more

If you have tried all the suggestions above but require further support, contact us on the link below.

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