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The Limping Child – Hip Pain

When a child is limping and presents to a chiropractor they may have  a hip condition.  After ruling out ankle and knee conditions our attention turns to the hip.  Since this can be a potentially serious condition it is important that your chiropractor is aware of the various conditions that can cause a child to limp. If it is established they are limping due to a hip problem, there can be a number of causes.  We shall have look at these now.

  1. Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip usually affects children between birth and 4 years old and is often picked up by the child’s medical doctor, infant welfare nurse. and sometimes by their chiropractor.  Of course a newborn won’t limp and therefore special tests can be performed to check the stability of the hip. If present, the baby will need a referral to a paediatrician. Treatment usually includes the baby wearing a brace to keep the hip in place until the hip matures. More severe cases may require surgery.
  2. Transient Synovitis usually affects children between 2 and 8 years old, and follows a viral illness.  It is self limiting however the child will be in pain and won’t want to bear weight on the affected leg.
  3.  Septic Arthritis is an infection in the joint and can affect young children and is associated with a fever.  This is a serious condition and needs medical attention including drainage of the hip joint and antibiotics.
  4. Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease is a condition which involves an interruption to the blood supply the head of the femur and can lead to deformity.  It can affect children up to the age of 18 but more commonly affects boys between 4 and 8 years old. This condition will need medical attention and sometimes surgery.
  5. Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis can usually affect obese teenage boys and requires surgery. The top of the femoral head slips backwards before the growth plate fuses.

As I have written before, x-rays should not be routinely ordered however some of the above conditions will require special x-rays or ultrasound.

If the above conditions are ruled out it may be possible that the child has a sacroiliac lesion or lower back problem. Only when your chiropractor is confident the above conditions are not present, should chiropractic treatment be applied.

At Farrelly Chiropractic we are happy to check your child if they are limping and has a hip pain however you may need to consult the child’s medical doctor first.