Many children come to primary care physicians or orthopedic surgeons with musculoskeletal illnesses. This illness can be somewhat challenging for the orthopedic surgeon to diagnose as the bones are still developing.
Many physicians recommend to wait out an orthopedic condition as there are many that remedy themselves with age. Let us shed some light on the more common childhood orthopedic conditions:
Intoeing, also known as pigeon toeing, is common in children. It can be identified as a walk with toes pointed inwards rather than straight. Even though it can occur in both genders, it is more common in girls, and more so during 4-6 years of age. Old remedies included braces, exercises and special shoes, but research has shown that the child will naturally correct this with age.
Most children are born with flat feet, and the foot arches develop with time. However, in some, these arches never develop and they walk with an ankle that turns inwards when their feet are planted. This condition only warrants treatment when it becomes painful. Otherwise, they don’t pose a problem to the child. Previously, high-top shoes and special footwear was considered, but we know now that they don’t affect arch formation.
Bowleggedness is an exaggerated outwards bending of the legs from the knees down. Although it can be hereditary, it usually corrects itself with age. Beyond the age of two if the child is bowlegged, then it is usually a symptom of diseases like rickets or Blount disease. Rickets is a bone disease that occurs due to deficiency of vitamin D, causing severe bending of bones as the weight increases.
Rickets is accompanied by other signs as well, such as the rosary along the ribs, widening of wrist and enlargement of liver and spleen. Rickets is immediately apparent to the doctor upon examination and can be easily treated by supplementation of vitamin D and calcium to the diet.
Blount disease is another condition that affects tibia bone in the leg. This condition can present suddenly at about two years of age and causes abnormal growth at the top of the tibia. Mostly this is corrected with bracing; if bracing does not work then surgical correction is done between the ages of 3 to 4 years.
4-Pediatric spinal deformity:
Children can experience spinal deformities such as kyphosis, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. Scoliosis and kyphosis refer to abnormal curvatures of the spine while spondylolisthesis refers to a displaced vertebra. Medical evaluation for proper workup should be immediately done if you suspect that your child has a spinal deformity.
If you suspect that your child may have a bone disorder, then the first thing your orthopedic surgeon might recommend is to get an x-ray. For a most accurate diagnosis, the child should be at least two years of age, otherwise, there is a risk of misdiagnosis. For most conditions, evidence-based research suggests to watch and wait before thinking about intervention.
If you have an orthopedic concern regarding your child, then book an appointment with top orthopedic specialist in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.