Hypotonia, commonly known as floppy baby syndrome, is a condition characterized by having low muscle tone.
It can be diagnosed within the first few minutes of life, but typically you won’t notice it until your baby is around six months old, or possibly older.
If left untreated it can cause significant issues that can affect your child long into their adulthood.
This is especially important if the underlying cause can’t be resolved.
But there’s good news, too – pediatric physical therapy near me can help.
Let’s take a closer look at hypotonia – what it is, what causes it, and how you can get your baby the care they need.
What Is Hypotonia?
Hypotonia, also known as low muscle tone, is typically detected during infancy or at birth.
It’s also sometimes called floppy baby syndrome.
If your child has hypotonia, they might look limp at birth and be unable to keep their elbows and knees bent.
This will also affect your child’s development, causing difficulty with feeding and motor skills.
Generally speaking, hypotonia affects motor nerves, muscle strength, and the brain.
But, it can be challenging to diagnose because many other diseases and disorders can cause the symptoms of hypotonia.
What Causes Hypotonia?
Hypotonia is typically caused by problems within the nervous or muscular system.
It can also be caused by illness, injury, or an inherited disorder.
Other causes of hypotonia can include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain damage due to lack of oxygen right before or after birth
- Issues with the way the brain formed in the womb
- Disorders that affect your baby’s nerves
- Achondroplasia (bone growth disorder)
Genetic conditions that can cause hypotonia include:
- Prader Willi syndrome
- Down syndrome
- TaySachs disease
- Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)
Benign congenital hypotonia is when you’re born with hypotonia that is not connected with a separate condition.
This is also known as “idiopathic hypotonia” – that is, hypotonia with no known cause.
Some children with benign congenital hypotonia may also have learning disabilities or developmental delays which can persist throughout childhood.
Pediatric physical therapy is a great resource to use to help your child gain muscle tone and remain on track developmentally.
Symptoms of hypotonia can appear at any age depending on its cause.
Some symptoms of hypotonia in children and infants are:
- Delayed gross motor skills development (rolling, sitting, crawling, etc.)
- Delayed fine motor skills development
- Difficulty controlling their head and neck
Signs of hypotonia that can develop at any age include:
- Poor reflexes
- Decreased muscle tone
- Decreased strength
- Hyper flexibility
- Speech challenges
- Poor posture
- Decreased endurance
How Can A Pediatric Physical Therapist Help With Hypotonia?
If you suspect your child has hypotonia, or you’re concerned about their physical development, it’s a good idea to see a pediatric physical therapist.
The first step, of course, is a pediatric therapy evaluation to find out whether it’s hypotonia or another issue that’s causing your baby’s symptoms.
This includes, but may not be limited to:
- Asking for details about pregnancy and birth
- Asking about a family history of hypotonia or similar conditions
- Testing your baby’s muscle tone
- Testing your baby’s muscle strength
- Testing your baby’s posture
- Testing your baby’s reflexes
- Testing your baby’s joint flexibility
- Checking for pediatric physical therapy milestones
Some of the symptoms of hypotonia overlap with other disorders, so it’s important to rule those out first.
These other disorders include:
Once we arrive at a diagnosis, the next step is to find out what the underlying cause is for their hypotonia.
Based on the cause (even if we can’t find a specific cause) and the severity and type of their symptoms, we’ll plan your child’s treatment.
In some cases, the underlying cause can be treated, but if not, the program developed by your pediatric physical therapist will focus on improving and supporting your child’s muscle function.
You may notice if you have a child who had torticollis, pediatric physical therapy treatments tend to overlap for these two conditions.
Your child will accomplish these goals by following a program that includes a range of exercises for them to complete daily.
Your pediatric physical therapist will work with you to find ways to make the entire experience fun for your child, integrating these exercises into your child’s daily routine at home and at school.
Book Your Appointment with Little Feet Pediatric Therapy Today
If your child has poor muscle tone, it might be a little alarming at first, but there is hope.
Here at Little Feet Pediatric Therapy, we offer pediatric physical therapy treatments for hypotonia that can help.
Book your appointment with Little Feet Pediatric Therapy today to schedule an evaluation.
► 3535 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
► 1331 H St NW Ste 200, Washington, DC 20005
► St. Louis, MO
► Raleigh, NC
Founded in 2019, Little Feet Therapy offers on site pediatric physical and occupational therapy treatments for children from 2 months to 18 years old with physical and developmental concerns. Our clinics focus on providing therapy in a child’s natural setting where your child is in familiar surroundings, it puts their mind at ease and helps them focus more on the work they’re doing with their pediatric therapist. Our therapists will work with your child at your home, at school, at daycare, or another place in the community where they feel most comfortable.