Physiotherapy for Children

“Mother Knows best”

I remember once bringing my young son to be assessed and was told that there was nothing wrong. There was, and it took me 3 consultations to find it. I’m a firm believer that if Mam says something is wrong, then something is wrong. It might not be much, and it might require very little input, but it will be there.

If you have any of the following concerns about your child, you should contact the clinic for an assessment.

  • flat feet
  • growing pains
  • clumsy
  • uncoordinated
  • overweight
  • lazy
  • not interested in sport
  • not good at sport despite being keen and interested
  • walks or runs funny
  • pain in feet, knees, legs, hips or low back
  • round shouldered
  • headaches
  • neck or shoulder pain
  • poor posture

Too often when children complain the parent is told that it is just “growing pains” or that the child will “grow out of it”.  We however believe that if a parent feels there is a problem with their child they are usually right.
These problems may appear to resolve for a period of time as the child grows, but can frequently come back to haunt them in a different form later in life.

Flat Feet in Children

Flat feet

Flat feet occur when

  1. The heel bone does not sit upright on the floor but tilts inwards. This usually results in the arch of the foot looking flat as it falls in.
  2. The arch of the foot is collapsed without the heel falling in. People sometimes mistake a fallen arch for a flat foot.


Parents always ask:

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAWhy has the child got flat feet and there are various contributing factors?

  1. Genetics – flat feet are often down to the genes, and we will ask parents if there are flat feet in the family
  2. The calf muscle is tight and so the foot falls inwards to gain mobility as the child tries to walk
  3. The ligaments in the foot are lax and the foot collapses
  4. The Tibialis Posterior muscle which supports the longitudinal arch of the foot is weak
  5. The ligaments and small intrinsic muscles of the feet are under working.

Parents usually  ask if it was something they did, or were the shoes wrong, this is usually not the cause.

Parents also ask can flat feet be fixed? The true answer here is that sometimes they can improve as the muscles strengthen, but more often it is that the flat feet will need to be supported by orthotics long term, but the ill effects can be reduced by strengthening and stretching exercises programs.

For more information on flat feet and how we can help click Flat Feet in Children

Growing Pains

If a child complains of growing pains, if they waken at night crying because they have pains in their calves or shins, if they have pains when they walk, the parents are usually told that they have growing pains and that they will grow out of them.

Calf Stretch

Calf Stretch

In Kilkenny Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic we believe that such pains have a physical cause, and while they may grow out of the pain, they may not grow out of the cause, and the symptoms will return to haunt them.

For example if a child has flat feet, when they walk long distances or run, their calf muscle will have to work extremely hard to bring the foot up from a flattened position to a functional position, and this over working of the muscle may present as pain in the muscle when the child goes to bed that night. This is because there is a build up of chemicals in the muscles, the most commonly known of these is Lactic Acid.

This is commonly labelled as “growing pains”, however it can frequently be treated with stretching and strengthening exercises and sometimes the provision of insoles or orthotics. If untreated it will result in poor gait pattern and as a result poor control of trunk and all the problems that go along with that.

For more information on  growing pains and how we can help click Growing Pains

Clumsy Incoordinated child

If a child is clumsy or incoordinated or poor at sport it may be because they have poor support for their trunk (poor core stability) This is a huge problem for many children today and is a direct product of the society in which we live, where we need to know where the child is at all times and can not let them wander off and cycle on their own as previous generations could. These children will frequently benefit from our back classes, pilates and Core Agility classes. These classes are also available through our sister clinic the Core Clinic in Clontubrid, Freshford, Co. Kilkenny.

Obesity in Children

Obesity is a huge problem amongst children today. It is not recommended by nutritionists that children go on diets to loose weight, but rather that they grow into the weight they are. They ideal way to tackle this is by structured, and monitored exercise programmes. Frequently an overweight child will have muscle imbalances through weakness in some muscles and shortening of others.

We run classes designed to address the problem of obesity in children while also addressing any issues the child may have with muscle imbalances, poor core strength, agility and flexibility. We will also work to improve the child’s self esteem by involving them in activities which make them feel good.

Poor Posture in Children

Children's Core Training

Children’s Core Training

Round shoulders and poor posture are usually related to poor trunk control and poor core stability. Parents can frequently be heard telling their children to stand up straight and bring their shoulders strength. This is not as easy as it sounds. When a child brings their shoulders back, they usually do it by arching their back and letting their ribs poke out in front, so reducing one problem while bringing on another.

Our Core strengthening, pilates and Core Agility Classes are all designed to improve posture by stretching and strengthening the relevant muscles to provide optimal good posture

Headaches in Children

Many of the children who have attended our clinic for other issues such as clumsiness, poor posture, flat feet etc. also suffer from headaches. In fact we have had several children in the past few years who have been investigated in hospital for headaches.

Our detailed assessments often lead us to believe that their headaches are related to over use of the muscles around their shoulders and neck. These muscles are frequently over working because of poor core strength and muscle imbalances around the shoulders and neck area. Their headaches are often related to over use of the muscles around their shoulders and neck which are over working because of poor core strength. This results in the development of Myofascial trigger points in these muscles can refer pain to the head.

We address these problems by doing a detailed thorough assessment which will identify sources of pain. We then give exercises and activities to reduce the problem.

Again our back class, pilates and Core Agility classes are designed to address these issues.

Sports Injuries in Children

Many children who are involved in multiple sports present with acute or recurrent sports injuries which you would

Mini Single Leg Squat

Mini Single Leg Squat

traditionally associate with the older athlete. Most of these can be traced back to some imbalances in muscles in these children, usually on a low core strength.

This happens because , no matter how active we think our child is, they are not a patch on the generations who went before. Our ancestors never sat down, mainly because there was no reason to do so. They were active and moving all the time. Now we know where our children are all the time, we transport them in cars and we give them exercise by bringing them to organised training sessions where they engage in repetitive activities strengthening certain muscle groups but not providing an over all over rounded strength.

Our detailed assessments will accurately determine where these imbalances lie, and we can provide exercise programmes to address these issues.