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Pain, problems moving and stiffness don’t have to keep your child from enjoying being a kid.

Maybe they’re recovering from an injury or surgery. Or maybe they have an ongoing condition that makes it painful to move around easily. Either way, physical therapy (PT) can help your child hurt less, move better, keep up with friends and feel more independent.

Cleveland Clinic Children’s physical therapists can help your child meet their goals through age-appropriate play and exercise. We make PT sessions fun and interactive. We want to keep your child interested and motivated as they get stronger and improve their ability to move so they can get back to doing kid things.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic Children's for Physical Therapy?

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Patient-centered care:

Our team will talk with you and your child about their therapy goals and tailor a plan to achieve them. We use exercise and fun, age-appropriate activities to increase their strength, balance, coordination and mobility (ability to move). Our evidence-based practice guidelines, based on your child’s specific diagnosis, will guide how often and how long your child’s treatment will be.

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Skilled collaborative providers:

Our physical therapists work closely with other Cleveland Clinic Children’s pediatric specialists if your child needs additional care. We make sure they get the treatments they need to feel their best.

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Specialized equipment:

We design our therapies with your child in mind — using equipment and games that are entertaining and designed for your child’s age group to engage their sensory and motor skills.

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National recognition:

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic Children’s a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the world.

Conditions We Treat with Physical Therapy at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

There are many reasons why your child may need physical therapy — injuries, chronic (ongoing) health conditions or recovery from surgery. Our physical therapists help children of all ages, including infants. We treat:


Your child’s provider may refer you to one of our physical therapists to help them recover from a:

Chronic conditions

If your child has a chronic condition, physical therapy may reduce their pain, help them be more confident with their motor skills and gain independence. We often treat:

Surgery recovery

If your child has had surgery, they may start physical therapy within the first few days after surgery to:

  • Gain strength.
  • Feel less pain.
  • Breathe easier.
  • Stay mobile.
  • Improve balance.

Consulting with a Physical Therapist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Before your child starts their PT program, you’ll meet with their physical therapist to set goals and build a highly personalized treatment plan to meet these goals.

What to expect at your child’s first visit

When you come to your child’s first appointment, you’ll spend time talking with their physical therapist. The therapist will ask a lot of questions about your child’s symptoms, pain levels, mobility and why they got a PT referral. The more you can share about this, the more we can personalize your child’s physical therapy plan.

Next, they’ll have your child do a few activities to see how they move and play. This helps us get a better idea of their strengths and where we can target improvement. We’ll also talk about your child’s goals once we see them move.

All of this lays the foundation for your child’s PT plan. The kind of exercises they’ll learn, how often they’ll come to appointments and for how long will depend on their symptoms and how they improve with treatment. We can increase or decrease the number of sessions as needed. We want to help them meet their goals and reach an age-appropriate level of independence.

Meet our physical therapy team at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Our expert healthcare providers work together to make sure your child gets the most personalized PT for their needs. Besides their physical therapist, their care team may include:


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Working with a Physical Therapist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Depending on their age and needs, your child will meet with their physical therapist in 45- to 60-minute therapy sessions to do fun activities that help them:

  • Gain strength.
  • Reach developmental milestones.
  • Improve flexibility and posture.
  • Increase balance and coordination.
  • Independently and safely explore their home and community environments.
  • Gain confidence in their gross motor and play skills.
  • Move safely with equipment (braces, gait trainer, walker or wheelchair).
  • Have less pain.

We recommend you attend your child’s physical therapy appointments and do the activities with them. Our physical therapists show you how to complete fun exercises and activities at home with your child so that you can work on skills with them in between our sessions. We can also help you find activities in your community that may also help your child to improve their gross motor skills.

Special physical therapy treatments

Sometimes your child may need a physical therapy plan that includes more than exercises to help with mobility, gross motor skills, posture or pain. More targeted treatments may include:

  • Electrical nerve stimulation: We use mild electrical impulses to treat pain and help teach your child’s brain and muscles efficient movement patterns for walking, reaching and climbing stairs.
  • Aquatic therapy: Also called hydrotherapy, these sessions are held in a warm water pool to improve strength, range of motion, walking pattern and balance in a pain-free and fun environment.
  • Pain management: This includes massage, improving posture, using low-level electrical currents to treat pain (frequency-specific microcurrent) or hot and cold therapy.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy helps your child focus on balance, coordination, gross motor skills and endurance while having fun with other kids. Our physical therapists lead the activities for groups of four to eight children of the same age.
  • Consultations for bracing/orthotics: If your child needs leg orthotics or supports to help improve their posture, we’ll work with you and an orthotist of your choice to make sure they get what they need. If they don’t need a custom solution, we can fit your child with an off-the-shelf orthotic.

We can make recommendations to help you have the best results at your child’s appointments and at home. Our physical therapists can also teach you how to use the latest adaptive equipment and assistive devices to adapt your home to your child’s needs and to help your child be as mobile as possible in the community.

Taking the Next Step

When your child has chronic pain or trouble moving that keeps them from living an active life, physical therapy can help. Our expert physical therapists focus on your child’s specific needs and goals in ways that are enjoyable, engaging and effective. And if your child needs help from other providers, our specialists all work together to give your child the care they need. At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, we’re passionate about helping kids enjoy being kids.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children’s physical therapists is easy. We’re here to help your child get the care they need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children’s physical therapists is easy. We’re here to help your child get the care they need.

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