Orthopedic problems are not limited to adults but some of these conditions are common in children as well. Yes, kids also suffer from different orthopaedic problems at different stages of childhood. While some issues subside as they grow, some problems need medical consultation and treatment. Parents should know of common orthopaedic problems in kids, their symptoms, potential causes, prevention and treatment. In this article, doctors explains about commonly seen orthopedic issues in kids.
You have to find out whether the child is limping with pain or without pain. Without pain, a limp is normal in many children. Because of bow leg or intoeing, it appears that a child is limping. But such limp is just a phase in the growing up of a skeleton.
According to Dr. Sandeep Patwardhan, Pediatric orthopedic surgeon from Sancheti Institute of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Pune, “When they are growing up, their body changes shape from birth till about eight to nine years. Then the adult mature shape is achieved. If there is a significant deviation before or after that, it may require treatment. If it is a painless limp, parents should not worry. If it is a painful limp, parents should definitely pay attention. Because, the causes of limp in such cases can be infection in bone and joint, or injury or fall or fractures or sometimes some metabolic bone diseases.”
Bow legs and knock legs
Bow legs in kids are a developmental phenomenon. When you grow, the shape of your leg may change. If a child is standing up straight and knees are touching and ankles are apart then you call it knock legs. When a child's knees stay wide apart even when the ankles are together, it is called bow legs. Mainly these are part of a child's growing up phases. Also if the body is hyper-flexible, then they will have different shapes, and then they might walk slightly intoeing. But these are mainly harmless developmental problems, which get corrected to a great extent with growth.
Bow legs and knock legs also happen because of vitamin D and calcium deficiency. Also, obesity is one of the increasingly seen causes behind now and knock legs. Because of weight, there is pressure created on the growing bone, which then leads to bow and knock legs.
Dr. Patwardhan says that flexible painless flat foot is normal human variation. As long as the flat foot in kids is painless and flexible, there is no need to do anything. If it becomes a painful flat foot by the age of nine to ten, then we can offer them treatment for reducing the pain. There are some exercises for painful flat feet. Sometimes we need to remove the excess bone with surgery in such cases. We prefer to operate on such patients only after twelve or thirteen years of age.
How To Prevent Orthopedic Problems in Kids?
Is it possible to prevent orthopaedic problems in children? Yes. Here are some ways to prevent orthopedic problems by Dr. Aniket Patil, Orthopedic Surgeon from Noble Hospital, Pune:
- Many common orthopedic problems among children occur naturally during their growing up period and they get self-corrected with time. Though, parents should understand that many of such problems happen because of Vitamin D deficiency and calcium deficiency.
- It is hence necessary that through proper food, exercise and sunlight, these deficiencies should be avoided.
- Childhood obesity is causing such issues in many children these days. During the lockdown, children's screen time has increased. It has led to weight gain and has caused orthopaedic issues in some children.
- Therefore, a healthy food and exercise routine which will keep a child's weight gain under control is essential. An expert should be consulted immediately in order to avoid any further complications."
There is no need to panic if your child exhibit signs and symptoms of orthopaedic problems. It is completely normal but you must keep a tab whether the symptoms are subsiding or increasing. If you find the problem aggravating over time, consult a doctor for timely diagnosis and treatment. Do not delay as it can cause lifelong suffering for your lad.
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