Limping child treatment in Gurgaon, Delhi NCR
Who is a limping child?
A limping child is a young child who does not walk as per the appropriate walk pattern suitable for their age. The limp could be due to strain, sprain, contusion, or any mild event that could limit the gait of the child. However, it could also be an indicator of a critical medical condition or a life-threatening one. It is advisable to seek prompt consultation and treatment as it can lead to complications such as death.
Symptoms and Causes of a limping child
The following table illustrates in detail the symptoms along with the cause of the injury for referral purposes.
Source – https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/the-limping-child/
Minor injuries can cause limping which is usual and needs to be observed. However, persistent limping can indicate serious injuries such as minor fractures.
A child suffers from diskitis when there is inflammation and irritation in the disk spaces between the small bones of the spine. A child with diskitis is likely to develop a limping gait.
Tumors can grow in soft tissues and bones. These tumors can cause pain and make the child limp.
Uncommon causes of limping could indicate the onset of serious bone diseases and nerve disorders.
This condition occurs in children between the ages of 4 to 10 years. Legg-Perthes Disease implies flattening of the ball and socket joint of the hip due to inadequate blood supply. Children affected by Legg-Perthes Disease are likely to limp.
These abnormalities are present when the child is born such as congenital hip dislocation can make the child limp while walking. These defects become more visible when the child begins to walk and occur due to differing lengths of the leg.
Nervous system disorders
Nerve disorder conditions can make the muscles weak or tight making the child walk abnormally. Through limping, the child adjusts to the pain and tries to stay as mobile as possible. It also implies there is a problem with nerve signals that assist the body in walking.
The doctor’s examination will involve detailed medical history relating to the health condition of the child, physical activity, and the cause of the limp. The family of the patient may need to describe the limp and its occurrence.
Infection and Inflammatory Disease
Limping in children also can be due to inflammatory conditions and infections. Infections due to bacteria can affect the growing bones and surrounding joints leading to inflammation and pain in the children. Also, the presence of inflammatory diseases especially juvenile arthritis leads to pain, swelling, and limping in children as it affects the bone joints.
Viral illness can also lead to inflaming the joints in the body leading to swelling and body ache. This condition is known as transient synovitis or toxic synovitis.
An extensive physical examination will be conducted to observe the child, his or her gait along with the limp. The child will be asked to walk and the doctor will examine for tenderness in the joints and muscles and also test the range of motion of the child. The child’s spine will also be checked for scoliosis condition or congenital abnormalities if any. Overall, the exhaustive examination includes checking for nerve disorders.
The treating orthopedic surgeon will recommend suitable x-rays taken from different angles or bone scans to detect a bone tumor, bone infections, or a subtle fracture. If required, an MRI is suggested for a detailed investigation. Ultrasound is suggested to check for fluid in the joints especially, the hip joint that is difficult to detect swelling.
Pathological tests are suggested to determine if viral or bacterial diseases have caused swelling in the joints and inflammation.
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
This condition occurs when the child is in the age group of 9 – 15 years i.e. right before puberty. In the Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis condition, the growth plate of the upper thighbone is weak leading to slipping off of the ball part of the hip joint.
Treatment of limping child predominantly depends on the cause of the limp.
In case of limp due to bacterial or viral infections –
- Analgesics and antibiotics are prescribed
- Splinting is recommended
- Further clinical consultation with a rheumatologist, oncologist, and orthopedic surgeon is suggested
In case of limp due to Legg-Perthes Disease or Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
An orthopedic evaluation and treatment are essential to resolve the inflammation of the hip joint and correct the position of the ball of the hip joint as the case may be for healing and improving the range of motion. The orthopedic surgeon may suggest an osteotomy or an abduction brace or a hip spica cast as per the condition of the child keeping in mind the health and age of the child.
Dr. Ratnav Ratan is available for consultation and treatment of a child with limping conditions in Delhi NCR and Gurgaon. He is an expert orthopedic surgeon with hands-on experience in treating pediatric orthopedic issues and sports-related injuries across thirteen years of his medical practice.