Commonly Overlooked Pediatric Musculoskeletal Disorders

Pediatric musculoskeletal disorders, though less commonly discussed, deserve our attention along with all other pediatric healthcare concerns. These conditions can have a significant impact on a child's development and quality of life, requiring intervention from our pediatric physical therapy MA team. To offer more guidance for parents/guardians, our experts at Peak Physical Therapy have detailed the key warning signs, symptoms, and recommended treatment plans for common pediatric musculoskeletal disorders.

What are Musculoskeletal Disorders?

A musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) refers to a broad category of medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system—including the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissues that provide structure, support, and movement to the body.

Common Pediatric Musculoskeletal Disorders and Their Symptoms

Symptoms of these disorders can range from mild to severe and can impact various parts of the musculoskeletal system. When left untreated at an early age, musculoskeletal disorders lead to chronic pain, disability, and further health concerns.


Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine, leading to posture changes and discomfort. Look out for uneven shoulders, hips, or waist, as well as a visibly curved spine.

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)

DDH is a condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly. Signs include a noticeable difference in leg lengths, limited hip movement, or clicking sounds when moving the hips.

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)

JIA is an autoimmune condition that affects joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Children may avoid using affected joints or show difficulty with performing daily tasks.

Therapy Treatment Types

To help combat these common pediatric musculoskeletal disorders, our pediatric physical therapy MA specialists may recommend a combination of therapies and techniques.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy will help improve strength, mobility, and overall body function to alleviate musculoskeletal disorders. Following a tailored exercise regimen and stretch routine can help manage pain and prevent further complications.


In cases of scoliosis or DDH, our pediatric physical therapy clinics may recommend bracing to guide proper bone growth and alignment. Braces can be particularly effective when used during growth spurts.


For conditions like JIA, medications can help manage pain and inflammation. However, these should be closely monitored and prescribed by a pediatric rheumatologist.

More Recommendations

Regular check-ups with a pediatrician can help identify any musculoskeletal issues early on. Parents/guardians should be vigilant in these early years of their child’s development and voice any concerns regarding their child's posture, gait, or movement. Our pediatric physical therapy MA team will also suggest:

  • Researching the diagnosed musculoskeletal disorder to ensure a thorough understanding
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce strain on joints and bones
  • Using assistive devices (splints, canes, orthotics, etc.)
  • Building a solid emotional support system for the patient

Trust Our Pediatric Physical Therapy MA Offices

While often overlooked, these common pediatric musculoskeletal disorders can impact a child's physical and emotional well-being. With the help of our pediatric physical therapy MA, our compassionate team will provide the tools necessary for all patients to grow and develop a strong foundation of musculoskeletal health. Explore all of our pediatric physical therapy services today and learn how we can help your child on their wellness journey.

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