Sienna currently has three physical therapy sessions per week. She does aquatic therapy, early intervention PT at home, and PT at the Children’s Institute Gym. Lots of people assume that once Sienna starts walking regularly, we won’t need PT anymore. It’s actually more complicated than that.
Sienna has something called hypotonia. She has a lack of tone in her muscles, not to be confused with muscle weakness. Take a second to squeeze your bicep. Do you feel the tension? Sienna’s bicep doesn’t do that. Low tone refers to a decreased level of tension in the muscles. Basically, they’re too relaxed. So as you can imagine, that makes things like standing or walking extra difficult. She will never outgrow it. This will always be her reality.
Muscles can get stronger or weaker, but the tone doesn’t change. Kids with hypotonia become adults with hypotonia. They learn how to compensate for their limitations. But without the proper interventions now, hypotonia could lead to poor alignment and other long-term health problems. Since walking will be vital for her entire lifetime, it is very important to be proactive in promoting optimal alignment and function beginning with her very first steps.
This is why Sienna wears orthotics. They help her achieve the proper foot alignment. Her ligaments do not hold her bones together tightly for optimal function. The joints of the foot have excessive flexibility and this causes instability when standing, walking, running, or jumping. I don’t love our constant barrage of therapies, but I know they are necessary. Getting her the support she needs at a young age is what will ensure her success in the future.