While orthopaedic problems are commonly seen in and associated with the elderly, it’s important to be alert regarding the fact that they can afflict young people and children as well. Orthopaedic problems in children can range from the benign ones that are no cause for worry to the more serious ones that require immediate attention and treatment.
The following are some orthopaedic conditions that are commonly seen in children.
1. Flat feet: Most children develop arches in their feet during or after infancy. However, there is no cause for concern in the case that they don’t. Flat feet do not pose any constraints while walking, running or playing a sport. If they happen to become painful, doctors suggest inserting arch supports into the footwear.
2. Toe walking: Toe walking is commonly seen in children under the age of 3. However, if toe walking persists in the later stages of childhood, doctors recommend physiotherapy to help stretch the calf muscles.
3. Intoeing: Children may retain from infancy their tendency to walk with their feet turned inwards. This may point to certain underlying conditions such as internal tibial torsion, femoral anteversion, or even cerebral palsy. Intoeing usually does not interfere with walking, running and other forms of exercise and generally corrects itself with time.
4. Bowlegs: An outward bending of the legs below the knees is recognised as bowleggedness. If it does not naturally correct itself over the age of 2, it could point to other medical conditions such as Blount disease or rickets. It is believed to be a hereditary condition, although the exact cause is unknown. To prevent abnormal growth, children with bowlegs may require bracing or surgery by the age of 4.
5. Knock-knees: Children between the ages of 3 and 6 may show certain signs of knock-knees. However, this condition usually corrects itself as the child grows. Although largely harmless, knock-knees may cause pain and difficulty in running in some children. Surgery may be considered in those cases.
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