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6 Essential Physiotherapy Exercises for Polio

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Vishwas Virmani 92% (27559 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida  •  22 years experience
6 Essential Physiotherapy Exercises for Polio


It is an infectious disease, epidemic and endemic in nature throughout the world. It is basically a virusinfection of nerve cells in the anterior gray matter or cranial nerve nuclei in the brain stem leading in many cases to temporary or permanent paralysis of the muscles that they activate. 

It is a disease which occurs effectively in humans. 


In this physiotherapy plays an important role. Exercises are the most important part to recover from this condition. 

Splintage and correct positioning

Splintage given so that the lower limb can be immobilized so  as to prevent any further damage to the neural structures. Moreover giving  a splint also reduces the pain arising from the muscles by immobilizing them and offering support. Splinting in this stage also prevents the muscles from going into contractures. 

MMT: immediately after     the muscular pain gets reduced and the patient comes out of the initial stage of inflammation, manual muscle charting should be done to know the     extent of weakness or paralysis.

 Gentle passive movement: the parents of the child should be shown to do gentle passive movement at least 2 to 3 times per day mainly to keep the muscle and joint flexible as well as to improve circulations to the limbs. This depends on     the tolerance of the patient and should not be given when the muscles are     painful or tender. 

Stretching of contractures: the tight and contracted soft tissue should be gently but     consistently stretched to prevent the chances of gross deformity. The  principle contractures are IT band and ankle equines. If the tendo Achilles is weak with grade either 0 or 1 then while stretching it out  excessive stretch should be avoided as there is more anterior gliding of  tibia which could lead to calacaneal deformity. Therefore it should be stretched only to neutral position. IT band contracture needs full     stretching normally but in cases where there is gluteus medius weakness, full stretching of IT band will further weaken the gluteus medius due to  excessive stretch and will lead to or exaggerated Trendeleburg’s lurch.     Thus in cases where there is a gluteus medius weakness a decision has to     be made whether to stretch it fully or to stretch it only to neutral. 

Stimulation and facilitation technique: may     be given to maintain the muscular property so that it facilitates improvement in the next stage.

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