Understanding Children’s Muscle Tone and its Importance

Muscle tone is present in the body and acts as the constant resistance of any muscle. From children to adults, it has been present in our muscles since birth and is essential for growth. Thus, it’s critical that we understand and maintain muscle tone, even and especially for the little ones. 

Read on to understand children’s muscle tone and its importance.

The Prime Purpose of Muscle Tone 

Muscle tone is not just for bodybuilders. It protects the spine and limbs from ligament sprains, lowering the risk of injury in children. As a result of spinal joint stress, decreased spinal muscle tone increases the likelihood of experiencing neck, back, and headache pain. 

It also helps with joint development (particularly hips and shoulders in infants and children), reducing stress caused by unusual postures or joint positions. Meanwhile, reduced muscle tone in the protective muscles of the joints may cause repetitive injuries, such as dislocated shoulders, elbows, fingers, and ankles. 

The following explains more on the purpose of muscle tone:

  • It is a driving force behind effective development. 

Muscle tone is essential for the acquisition of gross and fine motor skills. It establishes the foundation for future movement abilities such as rolling, hopping, skipping, biking, sports, writing, and even typing on your keyboard. 

  • Muscle tone contributes to the development of balance and coordination abilities. 

Strong muscles provide children with a sense of security as they learn new skills, heights, and terrains, enhancing their brain development and skill level. Regardless of age, adequate muscle tone ensures that a child has the musculoskeletal function required to participate in their world! 

  • Muscle tone has been linked to better posture, a balanced center of gravity between the feet and ankles, and proper body mechanics. 

Maintaining proper posture is difficult, and even sitting necessitates sufficient muscle tone. Muscles support our spine, pelvis, shoulders, and hips, keeping us upright and strong throughout the day. 

Proper upright posture promotes efficient use of the musculoskeletal system as well as increases our ability to effectively breathe to oxygenate our brain and body! 

  • Early muscle tone is critical for the development of the skeletal system of the lower limb. 

Leg muscle tone and postural (spinal) alignment are required for proper hip, knee, ankle, and foot alignment. When all muscles are working properly and gross motor development is progressing, the joints are properly aligned.

As we progress through gross motor milestones, our posture shifts from flexed to strong, upright, externally rotated, and slightly abducted. Kneel and straighten inverted and pronated (flat) feet as the body opens. 

In children aged 0 to 3 years, appropriate muscle tone is required for the optimal structural development of the lower limb. 

The Distinction Between Muscle Tone and Muscle Strength 

Muscle tone is the resistance of our muscles when we are at rest. Meanwhile, the amount of force that our muscles can generate in order to move or lift our bodies or objects is referred to as muscle strength. 

It’s not unusual for a child to have strong muscles but poor tone. The reduced postural tone in the spine, shoulders, hips and limb muscles can lead to altered leg biomechanics and sprain and strain injuries (e.g. knock knees, pronation). Children need to both improve their strength and keep their muscles toned.

Conclusion

While muscle tone and muscle strength are often used interchangeably or confused to be the same thing, it’s important to distinguish them from one another. This is why we should all learn about muscle tone and understand its importance as we help children gain not only strength and proper form but also confidence! With this information in mind, we can learn with youngsters how to improve our health and bodies.

Are you in need of chiropractic care for children? Live Well Rochester is dedicated to aiding Rochester residents of all ages in dealing with chronic health issues. Get to the chiropractor today, people!

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