What is the Goal of A Pediatric Physical Therapist?

When most people hear physical therapy, the first thought that comes to their mind is a healthcare professional administering physical therapy interventions to an adult patient. However, physical therapy treatments can benefit people of all ages. Kids are not exempt from physical therapy treatments because they may also suffer from severe pain, restricted movement, and limited physical function, all of which a physical therapist can treat. Moreover, kids are also in the formative stages, and some may suffer from developmental issues affecting their physical, social, and intellectual abilities. 

Pediatric physical therapy aims to help babies, adolescents, and teenagers under 18 or 21 improve mobility, regain function, and enhance their range of motion. Pediatric physical therapists can ensure that your kids go through all developmental stages without any hitch. This article will discuss the ultimate goal of pediatric physical therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers – Garland Campbell.

What Conditions Do Pediatric Physical Therapists Treat?

Pediatric physical therapists can treat and manage several childhood health problems. More importantly, they try to make it easier for kids to move around, play with friends, and perform their daily tasks comfortably. Pediatric physical therapists may provide services in various settings, including at home, school, daycare center, outpatient clinic, etc. The most common conditions that pediatric physical therapists treat in Garland, TX, include:

Developmental Delays & Disabilities

Developmental milestones are the expected fine/gross motor, cognitive, social, and emotional skills children develop as they grow. Developmental delays and disabilities occur when children do not meet their expected developmental milestones. Some of the most common developmental delays and disabilities that pediatric physical therapists treat include:

  • Cerebral Palsy: This developmental disability affects a child’s movement and posture and occurs due to damage to a child’s brain, most often before birth. Common causes of cerebral palsy include traumatic head injuries, maternal infections, harmful maternal habits, stroke, and bleeding into the brain. Cerebral palsy causes a child to struggle with movement, speech, coordination, and other developmental skills. Pediatric physical therapy helps children cope with the effects of cerebral palsy.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): ASD is a developmental disorder that is caused by differences in the brain, affecting the way children behave, learn, communicate, and interact with their peers. According to researchers, the primary causes of autism spectrum disorder are environmental and genetic factors. Pediatric physical therapy in Garland, TX, improves a child’s motor skills, posture, strength, and balance to mitigate the effects of autism spectrum disorder. 

Other developmental delays and disabilities that pediatric physical therapists can treat and manage include Down syndrome, global developmental delay, developmental coordination disorder (DCD), intellectual disabilities, etc. 

Orthopedic Conditions

The musculoskeletal system gives the body its structure and support, making movement and physical function possible. This system comprises bones, joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues. The musculoskeletal system and its parts can be affected by some conditions known as orthopedic disorders. Since the musculoskeletal system provides structure and support for the body, orthopedic conditions can restrict mobility and physical function in children. Some of the most common orthopedic conditions that pediatric therapy in Garland, TX, can treat and manage include:

  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)
  • Congenital limb deficiencies
  • Scoliosis and other spinal deformities
  • Clubfoot (talipes equinovarus)
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Leg length discrepancies
  • Arthrogryposis
  • Bone Fractures
  • Gait Abnormalities 

Traumatic Injuries and Accidents

These are physical injuries that occur as a result of traumatic events such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, etc. Traumatic injuries cause severe pain and discomfort and also limit mobility and physical functionality. Common traumatic injuries that pediatric physical therapists treat include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Fractures
  • Sports injuries (ankle injuries, knee injuries, shin splints, pulled muscles, tendinitis, hip flexor injuries, strains, sprains, etc).

Other conditions that pediatric physical therapy can treat and manage include cardiopulmonary conditions, genetic syndromes, neuromuscular disorders, sensory processing disorders, Pre- and Post-surgical rehabilitation, and other chronic illnesses and medical conditions such as cancer, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and obesity-related complications. 

What are the Goals of Pediatric Physical Therapy?

Pediatric physical therapy addresses musculoskeletal and other conditions that affect a child’s development, mobility, functionality, and overall quality of life. Some of the goals that pediatric physical therapists aim to achieve include:

Managing Pain and Discomfort

Musculoskeletal, developmental, and neuromuscular conditions and traumatic injuries that children suffer from cause severe pain and discomfort. Sometimes, this pain and discomfort are so unbearable that kids cannot play with their friends and participate in the activities they enjoy. Some of the methods that pediatric physical therapists adopt to relieve pain and discomfort in kids include:

  • Pain relief techniques: Physical therapists employ manual therapy with some other modalities to relieve pain and discomfort. Manual therapy involves the use of hands-on techniques to treat musculoskeletal pain. Some manual therapy techniques that physical therapists may employ for pain relief include massage therapy, soft tissue mobilization, myofascial pain release, joint mobilization, dry needling, strain-counterstrain therapy, etc. 

Other modalities pediatric physical therapists may use to relieve pain include heat or cold therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrical stimulation, etc. 

  • Adaptive equipment and aids: Physical therapists may also recommend or provide assistive devices to help children move around and perform their daily activities comfortably without pain. 

Facilitating Motor Development

There are two types of motor skills – gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are whole-body movements requiring large muscle groups like the torso, arms, and legs. They allow kids to perform activities such as running, jumping, etc. On the other hand, fine motor skills are precise movements that employ smaller muscle groups, such as those of the eyes, tongue, lips, etc. Fine motor skills allow kids to perform their daily activities with ease. Pediatric physical therapists may use techniques, such as therapeutic exercises, gait and balance training, etc, to help kids develop and improve their gross and fine motor skills.

Other goals that pediatric physical therapists aim to achieve include:

  • Improve functional mobility
  • Promote independence
  • Address physical limitations
  • Enhance strength and endurance.

Pediatric physical therapists employ physical therapy techniques such as therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, aquatic therapy, pain management techniques, assistive devices, etc, to treat and manage conditions that affect a child’s physical health.


Pediatric physical therapists are specialists who treat and manage conditions affecting children’s physical health. They improve your child’s mobility, strength, endurance, physical function, and overall health. If your child is suffering from musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, or developmental delay conditions, you should consider getting pediatric physical therapy at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers—Garland Campbell.