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Narrabeen Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre - Paediatric Rehabilitation

Wakehurst Parkway, Sydney, NSW

Narrabeen Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre - Paediatric Rehabilitation

Located in Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches covering Manly, Warringah, Pittwater and North Shore areas, Narrabeen Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre’s team consist of sports physicians, physiotherapists, podiatrist, a paediatric rehabilitation specialist, orthopaedic surgeons and a dietitian. Medical services can also be provided to children attending camps at the centre.

The centre’s paediatric rehabilitation specialist, Dr Louise Tofts, has an interest in working with children and adolescents who find it hard to participate in sport and exercise to ensure they access the positive benefits safely.

Is your child finding it hard to participate in sport?

Taking part in sport and physical activity is proven to have major benefits and can help children to lead more active and healthy lifestyles. However some children and adolescents find it difficult to participate in sport because of issues with:

  • Physical Disability
  • Hypermobility (double-jointedness)
  • Balance
  • Co-ordination
  • Motor skills
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Health
  • Spatial orientation (ability to judge size, distance, and left from right)

Frequent failures mean that children may not be motivated to join in or to try new activities and their physical difficulties can make them feel isolated from their peers, rehabilitation aims to increase participation by improving function using a multidisciplinary approach.

Joint Hypermobility (double jointedness)

Up to 1 in 10 children are hypermobile or “double-jointed” and about 1 in 10 of these or 1 in 100 children have difficulty with joint pain, joint instability and motor activities including handwriting and physical activities. Joint hypermobility can be connected with problems in the eyes, heart and bones and often runs in families. If your child can do four or more of the movements in the picture to the right and has musculoskeletal symptoms it would be worth making an appointment for a medical check and rehabilitation program.

Sport and Physical Activities for Children with a Disability

Sport can also play a key role in the lives and communities of children with disabilities, the same as it can for children without a disability. Sport and physical activity has been linked to improvements in self-confidence, social awareness and self-esteem and can contribute to empowerment of children with disabilities.

Sport and Adapted Physical Activity (APA) is a philosophy created specifically to make healthy, enjoyable physical activity accessible to all and to assure equal rights to sport instruction, coaching, medicine, recreation, competition and performance of persons with disabilities.

Professional help from a Paediatric Rehabilitation Specialist

Paediatric rehabilitation specialist, Dr Louise Tofts, offers support and guidance to children and adolescents to help them to participate in sport and physical activity as well as school based activities they may be having difficulty with.

Dr Tofts offers a goal-based functional approach in working with the child’s family, school and community providers including sports clubs to ensure inclusion, appropriate adaptations and safe access to activities.

Dr Tofts will complete a review of your child’s medical history and undertake a physical examination before setting out a list of recommendations, which usually includes an individualized on-going program provided by a team of allied health professionals including some of the following:

Occupational Therapists who will teach children to use particular movements (or compensate for a lack of movement) in their desired sport and address issues with upper limb functioning particularly handwriting at school.

Physiotherapists who provide physical rehabilitation programs to address problems with specific joints as well as assistance learning and mastering motor activities such as running.

Dietitians to assist those children who may need to gain or lose weight.

Exercise Physiologists who develop physical activity programs that can be done at home or in the community. EPs also use counselling and motivational strategies to ensure children make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.

Personal trainers who would help kids and families carry out programs recommended by the team and stay active for health.

Podiatrists who address lower limb biomechanical issues, particularly common in the hypermobile group, and provide orthotics where needed.

Psychologists who provide support in achieving behavioral change and coping with ongoing pain

Dr Louise Tofts - Bio

Dr Tofts holds a Masters in Sports Medicine from UNSW as well as dual Australian paediatric and rehabilitation fellowships and originally trained in London UK. Louise currently works in Kids Rehab at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and has a particular interest in generalised joint hypermobility, inherited musculoskeletal conditions, athletes with a physical disability and exercise and rehabilitation programs for children.

Making an appointment

If you would like to make an appointment for your child to see Dr Tofts then please get a referral from your GP (who will be a key participant in the ongoing care) and call Narrabeen Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre on 9971 1188.

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