Hypotonia and Decreased Core Stability
Lindsey Dowdy, DPT
Hypotonia is a general term for low muscle tone; in the pediatric world you see “floppy” babies, lots of drooling, and difficulty swallowing and/or talking when low tone is a characteristic of the child. Poor posture can be another indicator when evaluating muscle tone: ankles turned in, increased curve at the bottom of the spine, and forward head posture are some common things to look for.
I tend to see several kids who present with poor proximal stability, meaning their larger muscle groups are weak; this is where you tend to see abnormal spinal posture resulting from weak pelvic and shoulder girdles. Poor stability can lead to back pain or headaches. Some exercises to improve stability include planks, squats, scapular squeezes, push-ups with a plus, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants, bridging; and animal walking, for kids.
When ankles/feet are involved, inserts are generally recommended to improve the alignment of your legs. This can decrease foot pain too! Single-leg balance can improve ankle musculature, and heel-raises can improve ankle strength.
Hypotonia is usually combatted with strengthening exercises and increased postural awareness.
If you are concerned about your, or your child’s, muscle tone; please call on Rocky Mountain Physical Therapy to evaluate and provide treatment for your posture and core. We treat adults and children too!