Physical Therapy - Outpatient

The Physical Therapy Department at Boston Children’s Hospital provides direct outpatient rehabilitation services to patients ranging in age from newborns to adults. Our services are provided to improve movement, range of motion, strength, muscle tone, coordination, balance, gait and functional ability. Our goal is to maximize each patient’s function and independence in all areas of their life, including at home, in the school, and in their community. Our physical therapy team works closely with physicians, nurses, patient care coordinators and others within and outside of the Boston Children’s Hospital system, to provide the best possible care to each patient. When necessary, our physical therapy team will make recommendations for orthotic devices or other adaptive equipment.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services

At all of our Boston Children’s locations, our physical therapy staff works with a variety of diagnoses including, but not limited to:
  • Musculoskeletal, neurologic and orthopedic disorders
  • Sports injury management
  • Gait disorders
  • Balance and coordination deficits
  • Movement disorders
  • Congenital conditions
  • Infant torticollis and plagiocephaly
  • Delayed gross motor development
  • Posture deviations
  • Equipment and seating needs


We offer physical therapy services at our Boston, Lexington, and Waltham campuses. 

Patients who may Require Physical Therapy

We receive referrals from within our Children’s system, as well as from outside pediatricians and other medical providers. Patients are referred to physical therapy for a variety of reasons that may include:
  • Pre-operative (before surgery) management
  • Post-op (after surgery) management
  • Care after traumatic injury (including sports injuries, accidents, neurological injuries, concussions, etc.)
  • Care addressing prolonged illness
  • Treatment related to acute or chronic medical condition
  • Specialized assessments related to function and mobility – including standardized assessments and equipment evaluations

Individualized Treatment

Our therapists work with each patient and family to create a customized program to address each child’s individual needs. Each patient will receive an individualized evaluation by their therapist, to identify their impairments and functional limitations. Goals are established on the initial evaluation, which are specific, measurable, and achievable within the physical therapy plan of care. Based on the evaluation findings, the physical therapist will create an individualized treatment plan that may include:
  • Exercises to increase range of motion and muscle flexibility
  • Exercises to increase muscle strength
  • Postural re-education
  • Body mechanics education
  • Balance activities
  • Endurance training
  • Gait training for patients with difficulty walking
  • Functional mobility training for those having difficulty with sitting, stand, crawling, rolling and moving
  • Soft tissue massage and joint mobilization
  • Activity specific training
  • Developmental interventions
Each individual treatment plan is established to help patient’s make a full recovery, return to their previous level of function, or learn to adapt and work within their functional limitations. After the first appointment, your physical therapist will determine an appropriate frequency for services and discuss how often a patient will need to return for physical therapy visits. Your physical therapist will also make recommendations for the duration of treatment, on an individual basis and based on limitations found during the initial evaluation.

A major part of each treatment plan in the outpatient setting involves education to patients and families on how they can progress with their specific plan of care at home. Patients and families are shown and educated on a home exercise program, and provided written instructions, when applicable. Our therapists are available to answer any questions that may arise once they are at home. Typically at discharge, it is anticipated the patient will continue with some element of home exercise program, to continue to maintain the gains from their physical therapy plan of care.

Once our patients have met their goals for physical therapy, they are discharged from outpatient services. At this time, each therapist will discuss the importance of continued compliance with health and wellness activities, and provide any further suggestions, if needed.