Limping in Children

A Patient's Guide to Limping in Children

Introduction

Limping in a child is a concern. Limping in a child is never normal. It can be caused by many things, sometimes by something minor, like a blister or cut. The most common cause of a limp in young children is a fracture. Sometimes it is caused by a serious infection. Although rare, it can be caused by a tumor.

This guide will help you understand

  • what can cause this condition
  • what the symptoms are
  • how your doctor will diagnose the condition
  • what treatment options are available

Anatomy

What parts of the body can be involved?

Sources of limping can involve many parts of the body. The hip, knee, shin bone, ankle, and foot are common parts that can cause limping. Limping can also be caused by problems in the back or pelvis.

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. It is covered by a tough lining called the synovium. The ball of the joint is the end of the thigh bone, called the femur. Like other ends of bones in children, the ball has an area called a growth plate. A growth plate has cells that produce new bone. The growth plate is weaker than other parts of the bone. This makes this area more likely to fracture.

The socket part of the hip joint is called the acetabulum. It is actually part of the pelvis. The acetabulum forms a cup where the ball of the femur sits. It is covered with articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the material that covers the ends of the bone of any joint. It's a rubbery, slippery substance that allows the surfaces to slide against one another without damage to either surface.

The knee joint is made up of the other end of the femur and the end of the shin bone. The knee cap, or patella, also is part of the knee joint. In children, pain in the knee can actually be caused by a problem in the hip.

The lower leg is made up of two main bones. The larger bone is the shin bone, called the tibia. The smaller bone runs along the outside of the tibia it's called the fibula. These bones, along with a saddle shaped bone at the top of the foot called the talus form the ankle.

The foot has many bones. There are short bones below the ankle towards the back of the foot called the cuboids. The long bones of the foot from the arch to the joints of the toes are called the metatarsals.

Causes

How can this condition develop?

The most common cause of a limp in small children is a fracture. Toddler’s fractures involve buckling or bowing of the tibia (shin bone). This usually happens when a child trips or falls up stairs.

Bunk-bed fractures are caused by jumping. The cuboid bone and first metatarsal in the foot are the bones that are usually broken in this type of injury.

In children from two to ten years old, the most common cause of hip pain is transient synovitis (TS). This involves swelling or inflammation of the synovium of the hip. The synovium is a tough covering of the joint. Often, the child will have had a cold or viral infection just before the hip pain started. Transient synovitis usually lasts ten days. It generally gets better on its own.

Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Transient Synovitis of the Hip in Children

Joint infection of the hip causes a more sudden onset of pain. Children will usually not walk at all when the joint is infected.

Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone. It usually happens near the ends of the bones, close to the growth plate.

Overuse syndromes are common in active adolescents. Stress fractures of the foot, patellofemoral joint problems, and Osgood-Schlatter’s disease are examples of overuse syndromes.

Related Document: A Patient's Guide to Osgood-Schlatter Lesion of the Knee

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease typically affects boys between the ages of five and ten. It is also called osteonecrosis alink_delimiter_one_string and avascular necrosisSlipped Capital Femoral EpiphysisSlipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

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is the slipping of the growth plate of the ball of the hip joint. It usually happens in obese, older children.Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis

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juvenile onset rheumatoid arthritisjuvenile onset rheumatoid arthritis, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer, , also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer, , also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer, , also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer,

, also called nuclear scans can be used to detect fractures, osteomyelitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. A radioactive tracer, Ultrasound is another form of imaging that may be used. It uses sound waves to create a picture. Ultrasound of the hip can show osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, transient synovitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.Ultrasound is another form of imaging that may be used. It uses sound waves to create a picture. Ultrasound of the hip can show osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, transient synovitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.Ultrasound is another form of imaging that may be used. It uses sound waves to create a picture. Ultrasound of the hip can show osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, transient synovitis, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.

increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests.

increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. increase, these lab tests may also be done. Other lab tests may be done, such as rheumatoid factor, sickle cell tests, and lyme disease tests. percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

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percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

percutaneous pinning

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percutaneous pinning

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percutaneous pinning

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percutaneous pinningLegg-Calve-Perthes often requires surgery to shape the hip joint. Legg-Calve-Perthes often requires surgery to shape the hip joint.

percutaneous pinning

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