Orthopaedic Problems In Children: Keep A Check
Orthopaedic problems in children are caused due to congenital malformations, developmental or acquired disorders, injuries, bone cancer, poor posture and even insufficient nutrition. The key to managing paediatric orthopaedic problems is early detection and consistent management (with regular follow-ups) until they outgrow the problem.
There are several orthopaedic problems that may occur in children; and if not detected and treated early, these may lead to several complications in future including disabilities.
Here are the common orthopaedic problems that affect children:
Foot & Toes
At times, certain disorders can hamper the normal development of a child’s. Some problems may usually self-correct, while others may require early intervention and treatment that may range from something as simple as making the child wear special shoes to a corrective surgery.
The common conditions of the feet include flatfeet, clubfeet, abnormally shaped feet, curly toes, extra or missing toes, lumps and bumps over the foot and foot pain.
A Paediatric Orthopaedician can help diagnose and manage the condition efficiently and prevent further complications in future.
If a child does not walk normally or if the placement of the feet during walking is unusual, it is very important to get the child checked by a Paediatric Orthopaedician before it gets too late to correct. Since the way the leg aligns can vary with age, early treatment is extremely crucial for correcting any abnormality.
The common conditions of the legs in children include unstable walking, bowlegged-ness, knock knees, walking on the toes (tiptoeing), unequal leg lengths and conditions/ disorders of the hips.
Limping is also very common in children. Most times, limping may be caused due to excessive activity and resolve on its own. However, if the child is limping more often, make sure that you seek immediate help to rule out any secondary problems in the hips.
Apart from limping, hip conditions can present with different patterns of walking like in toeing and out toeing. These walking patterns can be a result of normal development or some underlying abnormality of the hip.
Newborns are screened for a condition called Developmental Dysplasia of the Hips (where the hip may be poorly or under developed or even dislocated). This is done to ensure early diagnosis and treatment, which may include bracing. Remember, if the chance for early treatment is missed, the child may require more major and invasive method like a surgery to correct the problem.
Some of the common hip conditions seen in children include developmental dysplasia of the hips, in toeing, out toeing and painful or painless limping.
Limb Length Discrepancy (LLD)
A condition where there is inequality in the lengths of the lower limb, LLD is caused due to hemi hypertrophy; neglected hip conditions; arrest of the growth plate secondary to infections and injury to the growing areas of the lower limbs and foot condition like clubfeet.
- » Spine Deformity : Children can suffer from back problems including congenital malformations and back pain due to poor posture.Spine deformities in children and adolescents include Scoliosis or a side-to-side curvature of the spine and Kyphosis or hunchback, which in majority of cases is the result of poor posture.
- » Back Pain : Children, as a rule, should not get back pain. Therefore, if your child is complaining of persistent back pain, then the problems requires a thorough evaluation and check-up. The main reason for backache can be acute back strain due to excessive exercise, bad posture (hunching forward or stooping while walking) or injury.
Sports injuries account for a quarter of all injuries to children and adolescents, especially as that is the age hen they are more involved in sports and games. Parents can seek the help of a Paediatric Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Physician to prevent and treat such injuries, especially if they intend to mould the child into a sports’ professional. The common problems include soft-tissue injuries like contusions, lacerations, sprains and strains; overuse injuries like rotator cuff tendonitis, thrower’s shoulder and thrower’s elbow, Jumpers Knee, Sever’s disease and stress fractures; and acute injuries like shoulder dislocation, Patella dislocation and Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.
Bone pain or tenderness, impaired growth, increased bone fractures, muscle cramps, short stature and skeletal deformities in children caused due to lack of Vitamin D. This condition may lead to Osteomalacia when they grow up.
Tumours of the bone – both malignant (cancerous) and non-malignant (non-cancerous) can occur in children. Characterised by pain and inflammation, it is very, very important to diagnose and treat these tumours at the earliest to prevent threat to life and limb.