When children are born with moderate to severe deformities of the lower legs, it makes it nearly impossible for these children to learn how to walk properly. The first step towards helping these children walk better is through proper diagnosis and a visit to an orthopedic specialist. Some deformities may be correctable through the use of orthopedic shoes and/or leg braces. Other deformities require surgery (sometimes more than one surgery) to correct bone and muscle structure. After each surgery, your child will need pediatric physical therapy and some educational and emotional counseling (if your child is old enough to speak and understand). Here is why.
What the Physical Therapy Does for Your Child
Pediatric physical therapy focuses on how children normally develop versus what you and your child can now expect after surgery. Bones have to be straightened and repositioned, while muscles have to be moved to accommodate the new position of the bones. Physical therapy is used to speed healing and increase circulation to the bones, muscles and nerves around the surgical sites. Therapy also strengthens these newly weakened areas while loosening stiff muscles and relieving some of the pain your child feels.
As a parent, you may be given additional exercises to perform at home on your child's limbs. These exercises are vital to your child's overall physical therapy plan because they will help keep your child limber while the bones and muscles reconstruct to fit the medical confines the bones and muscles were given after surgery. The exercises also prevent a lot of the muscle spasms that come with reshaped limbs and the ongoing growing process of the repaired deformities. It may be very hard emotionally, but it has to be done in order to achieve the maximum desired results for your child.
The Educational and Emotional Counseling That Comes with the Physical Therapy
If your child is old enough to understand and ask questions, the educational portion of therapy not only helps you but him or her also. It helps everyone in the family unit understand how your child's legs should be, and how the doctors and therapists will help their legs. There is a lot of information to take in, and it can become very emotional. That is why there is also emotional counseling included in child physical therapy. It allows you to express how you feel about the physical therapy at home and how it affects you, while allowing your child to express his or her fears about therapy too.
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