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Limping in Children


limpLimping in Children

Spring is coming and with it come spring sports and outdoor play.  Active play can lead to injuries and also discomfort related to using muscles that are not typically used.  Occasionally, a parent will notice that their child is limping.  When is this cause for concern?

Limps are most commonly caused by minor injuries but persistent limping after an injury should be evaluated by an MD.  Infections and inflammatory conditions are the next most common cause of limping in children.  Infections, viral or bacterial, of the bones or joints can cause limping, as well as inflammatory disease, such as juvenile arthritis. Lyme disease sometimes presents as a persistent limp.   Serious bone diseases and nervous system disorders are very rare.

It is helpful for diagnosis if the parent is able to report recent activities and injuries and is able to describe the limp and when it occurs.  Is it getting better, worse or staying the same?  Is it worse at a certain time of the day?  Of course, a family history of arthritis or recent history of infection with strep or a virus should be reported.

Limps in children are common and usually not a major cause of concern.  Limping with report of pain and persistent limping should always be evaluated by your child’s pediatrician.

After the winter we have had, we are all ready for some outdoor play!

Susan Quigley, RN, BSN, NCSN