When you think of orthopedic issues, most think of concerns that develop with age—such as arthritis from osteoporosis, or overuse injuries that leave you with back, hip, shoulder or knee pain. But not all orthopedic injuries develop later in life. In some situations, even young children are exposed to chronic pain as a result of orthopedic conditions. While rare, these orthopedic conditions can interfere with proper development and may even impede bone growth.
When orthopedic conditions occur in children, the best thing that a parent can do is take action quickly by getting in touch with an orthopedic doctor. It is best for treatment to begin as early as possible to support proper development. Otherwise, a potentially correctable issue could lead to long-term discomfort and even disability.
Identifying Orthopedic Conditions in Children
Many times, minor orthopedic issues among children will correct themselves on their own. In other cases, intervention is needed to help children develop healthily.
Here are a few of the more common orthopedic issues that commonly develop among children:
- Flatfeet. The majority of babies are actually born with flat feet. Arches begin to develop as the child grows, though sometimes the arch doesn’t fully develop. The best way to identify this in a young child is to look at the ankles. If they appear to turn inward, then the arches may not have developed yet. While flatfeet isn’t a severe medical problem, it is a good idea to consult with your orthopedic doctor.
- Toe Walking. Many kids will start out walking on their toes. While this might appear as a childish bit of fun, or an attempt to be taller, but it could mean that there is a greater medical issue. In some cases, toe walking can be linked to cerebral palsy, muscle weakness, autism or other nervous system problems.
- Pigeon Toes. This is the tendency for children to walk with their toes turned inward. This habit often becomes more evident by 15 months, or around the time children are standing and starting to walk. If this is something that lasts quite a while, then contact your pediatric orthopedic. The habit of turning toes inward should dissipate by the age of four.
Other common orthopedic conditions that children can develop include bowlegs, which is an exaggerated bending of the legs from the knees down, as well as knock-knees, in which the knees are incredibly stiff. Both of these conditions could require the support of braces or splints if too severe.
It is perfectly common as a parent to become nervous when there is evidence of even a minor orthopedic issue among your child, but there is no need to be overly worried. These conditions are common and often are easily resolved, sometimes even naturally. Contact your Jacksonville orthopedic doctor at Southeast Orthopedic Specialists for more information about diagnosis and treatment options.Return to Blog