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February 2024
What is Low Muscle Tone?


Muscle tone is the amount of resting tension in our muscles. It can be difficult to understand, because it's not actually the 'strength' of our muscles, which is how hard they can contract to produce a force (eg lifting weights).


Like most of our body, there's a degree of variety in muscle tone. It could be slightly higher in some children, or slightly lower. If it's significantly less than average, we call it low muscle tone (hypotonia). 












There are a few potential causes of low muscle tone, and the diagnosis is often permanent. Paediatric physios are experts in decreasing the impact it has on a child's life. We have tons of tips and strategies which can make a huge difference to their ability to move and play. Remember, a diagnosis is only an issue if it's causing problems!

Mitch Rawson

13th February, 2024

Low Tone Child.jpeg
Low Tone Baby.jpg

Low muscle tone can be diagnosed by a paediatric physiotherapist or paediatrician. Essentially, it feels more like stretching a piece of string as opposed to an elastic band - there's little to no resistance. 

Without a healthy amount of resistance (ie muscle tone), children can find contracting their muscles quite difficult. Parents of children with low muscle tone often describe them as 'floppy'. 


Children with low muscle tone often have little muscle mass and fatigue quicker than their friends when playing. They can be clumsy and have coordination problems, and often can have hypermobility spectrum disorder (see next month's blog!). They're often slouching and have poor posture, because their core muscles are too tired to keep them upright. This can cause issues trying to sit and learn at school, difficulty hand-writing and even trouble eating food!

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