When joint, bone, or muscle problems develop in growing children, they may be seen by a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Orange County. This type of specialist is trained to identify potential issues and treat conditions that may also affect posture or result in some degree of pain or discomfort. To contact the top pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Orange County, call us today. This type of specialist can see:
- Babies and infants
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Bone or Joint Disorders
A pediatric orthopedic surgery may diagnose and treat stiff and contracted joints (arthrogryposis), muscle issues associated with cerebral palsy, or pain associated with activity. Since bone or joint disorders in children often present symptoms that may be associated with multiple conditions, accurate diagnosis is important, a process often involving CT scans, MRIs, and other image tests.
In some cases, such disorders are caused by the development of fluid-filled sacs around joints (ganglion cysts), which may require surgery if the cysts are large enough. Bones and joints in children may also be affected by some type of bone cancer, such as osteosarcoma (occurring around bones of the knee). Adolescents and teens active in sports may suffer a kneecap dislocation or a related instability.
Childhood Growing Pains
Occurring in about 10-20 percent of school-age children, growing pains are muscle or joint-related aches and pains in children that often have no clear source. Growth-related pain or discomfort almost always occurs on both sides of legs and in calf or thigh muscles and typically lasts for about 10-30 minutes at a time.
While growing pains are harmless, children may be referred to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Orange County for further evaluation if pain is relegated to a single joint, becomes progressively worse, results in limping, or is accompanied by redness, swelling, limited range of motion, or a tender spot that becomes painful when touched.
Pediatric orthopedic surgeons frequently see younger patients with some type of gait (walking or movement) issue. Clubfoot, affecting six in every thousand newborns, is considered one of the most common gait abnormalities affecting children. It’s often detected just after birth, but it’s also sometimes spotted on an ultrasound prior to birth. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon may perform an Achilles tenotomy, a lengthening of the Achilles tendon, if non-surgical treatments aren’t effective.
Movement and stability in children, primarily those under the age of twelve, can also be affected by abnormal spacing between legs or knees (bowed legs) or abnormalities with the hip joint (femoro acetabular impingement or Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease). Movement issues in children may also be caused by inflammatory or autoimmune disorders affecting tissues, bones, and joints, undetected infections, or reactions to medications being taken for other conditions.
Childhood Musculoskeletal Abnormalities
Some children have what appears to be a potentially problematic bone, joint, or muscle disorder that resolves itself during normal growth. In-toeing (feet turning inward while walking or running) in toddlers is an example of such a condition. It may be present in toddlers and correct itself in time.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine that can either be present at birth or appear during growth spurts that often occur just before puberty. Treatment may include periodic observation, bracing, or surgery if the curvature is excessive.
Fractures and Injuries
Most common in teens and young adults active in sports, bone fractures are often the results of hard impacts or falls, which can cause unique issues with developing bones. Such injuries tend to be relegated to the upper body, including the forearm, wrists, and shoulders. Elbows can also become injured due to the natural tendency to extend the arm for support during a fall.
Bone fractures in children may occur in the form of incomplete breaks, or buckle fractures, that are more common in younger children or complete fractures. Treatment will depend on the severity of the fracture. Care must be taken to ensure proper healing, which is often accomplished with bracing, casts, splits, and regular monitoring to make sure healing is progressing as expected.
A visit to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Orange County is sometimes scheduled when a child’s regular doctor suspects a growth-related problem. Other times, it’s simply to make sure development is progressing as expected or to monitor a condition that was present at birth. Pediatric orthopedists also know how to approach children in a way that’s calming in order to achieve an accurate diagnosis, encourage cooperation, and perform necessary treatments.