When Should My Child See an Orthopedist?

It can be hard to know whether a child needs orthopedic treatment or is just experiencing growth development. Symptoms can be signs of underlying causes. While many orthopedic problems that arise in childhood are temporary, it can be hard to know when your child may need additional care. Parents who notice persistent musculoskeletal problems may need to consider seeking pediatric orthopedic treatment. There are two primary orthopedic problems found in young children. These typically form when a child is first learning to walk and can lead to irregular walking habits.

Intoeing is identified as running or walking with the toes turned slightly inward as opposed to straight forward. The layman’s term for this condition is “pigeon-toed.” Intoeing typically corrects itself around the age of 8 in the majority of children, however, if it continues the child may need the assistance of a brace or other orthopedic treatment. Intoeing can be a symptom of metatarsus adductus (when a child’s foot is bent inward near the middle of the foot), tibial torsion (the inward twisting of shin bones), or femoral anteversion (an inward twisting of the thigh bone). Treatments include casts, braces, or surgery to reset bones.

Bowleggedness, or genu varum, is more commonly found in toddlers under the age of 2 and those suffering from childhood obesity. If a child has bowleggedness, there will be a noticeable gap between their legs when they place their feet together. As the child continues to grow, bowed legs typically straighten themselves out. However, if one leg is more bowed than the other or if the bowing is more severe than usual, the child may need orthopedic treatment. Furthermore, bowleggedness can be an indication of something more serious such as Blount’s disease or rickets. This is often identified via x-ray after the child is three years old. If left untreated, bowing may worsen or become permanent. Treatments include bracing, medication, or surgery depending on the underlying cause.

If parents notice these symptoms and they seem more severe than usual, it’s important to ask a pediatrician if seeing a specialist is necessary. At 360-ORTHOPEDICS, we treat patients from pediatrics to adults. We have three convenient locations and are able to offer same day / next day appointments when needed. Our mission is to get patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

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