What do the pediatric orthopedists look for when examining a six-week old infant?
The pediatric orthopedist examines the infant’s entire musculoskeletal system, with special attention given to the hips, posture and the positioning of the feet in order to screen out possible developmental defects. Early discovery is essential since, should any disorders be found too late, by the time the toddler stands or walks, the treatment possibilities are much more limited.
Is it true that when the baby’s hips are normal the gluteal folds are symmetrical?
Yes, asymmetrical creases or, if there are more on one side than on the other, could very well be an indication of hip dysplasia. As parents, when it is time for diaper change, turn the baby onto its stomach and check if both buttocks are the same size and if the creases below the buttocks are equal on both sides. The pediatrician will, of course, check but you can also see whether the legs move equally, observe how the baby moves on its stomach, whether it makes crawling movements, etc. If you notice anything that is not quite right, take the child to the pediatric orthopedist as soon as possible.
Our baby holds itself rather stiffly, holds its neck stiffly backwards, the neck muscles are stiff but the baby can move its head normally and nurses well. Will this muscle disorder correct itself or will some form of treatment be necessary?
We advise that you consult with your health care giver or pediatrician and follow their recommendation for a developmental neurologist or orthopedist you should take your infant to as soon as possible. The symptoms could be due to muscle tone disorder, in which case they might need to be developed, but, your specialist will inform you in detail regarding the diagnosis once the baby is examined.
There is much discussion regarding the position the baby should be put to sleep in - on the back or on the stomach. Would either have an effect on the baby’s future musculoskeletal system?
We usually recommend sleeping on the back; however, it is important that the baby also sleep on its stomach under supervised conditions and proper observation (baby monitors that monitor the baby’s breathing, are currently very popular).
Is baby massage always beneficial or is it, at times, contraindicated?
As long as the proper technique is used, baby massage is always good not only for the baby’s motor development but also for bonding with the mother or any other family member doing the massage.
Are there certain exercises we could do at home as a start to the baby’s exercise program?
Yes, definitely! In fact, we show the basic elements of the baby exercises at every pediatric orthopedic screening then practice them together with a parent so that he or she can do them at home with confidence. If you are uncertain, after all, our physiotherapists will teach you the essentials. Important! If there are any demonstrable changes, these may be treated only by a physiotherapist.