Now that summer is in full swing, the best pediatric orthopedic surgeons often recommend swimming for rehab. Swimming’s low-impact, full-body benefits can help kids bounce back after an injury or procedure.
If your child’s doctor recommends physical therapy, time in a pool may help speed recovery. Aquatic therapy can include treading water, swimming, stretching or running on an underwater treadmill. The resistance and buoyant support of the water can lessen pain and stress on the affected area during physical therapy.
What Makes Aquatic Therapy Such a Good Option
The support provided by water gives your child an enhanced ability to improve the strength and motion of the affected bones, joints or muscles. Water’s buoyant properties lessen the effects of pressure and stress caused by gravity during normal physical therapy.
The resistance offered by water can also be an effective way of rapidly improving the strength of recovering muscles. Because the muscles must work against the water, even slow walking becomes a strengthening exercise. Thanks to this, aquatic physical therapy is often used to ease recovering patients into normal physical therapy.
What Should I Know About Aquatic Therapy?
Because swimming and exercising in a pool works virtually all the muscles in a body, it’s a healthy activity even if your child doesn’t need physical therapy. If your child is not working with a physical therapist in the pool, a supervising adult should always be present.
Not all children recovering from an injury or orthopedic procedure are a good fit for aquatic therapy. If you’re not sure, you should discuss using water activities for physical rehab with your child’s pediatric orthopedic surgeon.