Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital provide innovative, comprehensive hip care to children of all ages. We understand how stressful and scary it can be to have a child in pain or need orthopaedic help. Our goal is to deliver tailored care to your child that is designed to treat hip pain, instability or disability that will give your child long standing success.

Hip Conditions We Treat in Children

The hip is a ball and socket joint where the ball is connected to thigh bone and the socket is connected to the pelvis. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip socket does not develop properly to fully cover the ball of the upper thighbone.

Without the stability the hip socket provides, the hip joint can be slightly out of place or even dislocated. Untreated hip dysplasia can lead to a poorly developed hip joint and cause damage to the hip over time, leading to early arthritis.

Signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia including:

  • hip clicking
  • hip popping
  • uneven leg length
  • differences in mobility of the legs
  • a limp that is noticed when a child starts to walk

Hip dysplasia is more common in girls, first-born children, breech babies (baby is buttocks-down in the womb), and in children with a family history of this condition.

Checking for hip dysplasia always start with a careful physical examination. Depending on the child's age, an ultrasound or an x-ray may be obtained to look at the development of the hips.

Hip dysplasia can be treated in a variety of ways given the severity of the hip dysplasia and how old the child is at the time of diagnosis. Young babies are often treated with a brace. Older babies may require a procedure to move the hip back into place and hold it there with a body cast. Toddlers may need a surgery to reposition the bones and a cast to hold the hip in place while it heals. Most all of these children will need long-term monitoring to ensure their hips continue to develop normally over time.

With femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), or hip impingement, the hip bones are abnormally shaped, which makes it difficult for the hip joint to move properly or have a normal range of motion. Sometimes this results in painful contact between the hip bones, making normal rotations and movements uncomfortable.

If your child has FAI, our treatment plan will depend on your individual child’s diagnosis and pain level. We offer a comprehensive list of treatment options, ranging from medication, physical therapy to surgery and more.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, commonly referred to as Perthes disease, is a condition in which your child’s hip bone does not receive adequate blood supply and makes the hips weaker and more susceptible to damage. The loss of blood changes the shape of the ball and socket joint, which alters the overall structure of the joint. Perthes can cause pain in the hip and groin area, changes in gait, such as a limp, and a decreased range of motion. Children often need an MRI to properly diagnose Perthes disease.

There are many treatment options to help your children overcome Perthes disease, and after evaluating your child’s specific hip conditions, we will recommend one or more of the following treatment options that best meet your child’s needs:

  • Physical therapy
  • Use of a wheelchair or crutches
  • Activity restrictions
  • Bracing or casting
  • Surgery

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a pediatric hip condition where the growth plate at the top of the thighbone (the ball) becomes injured and causes an abnormal alignment of the hip bones. Patients with SCFE may experience painful standing or walking, limited hip mobility, joint discomfort, and more. SCFE need to be treated urgently to prevent further damage to the hip joint and other surrounding bones.

If SCFE is untreated, the condition can cause irreversible damage to the hip and life-long disability. Our pediatric orthopaedic surgeons can quickly diagnose SCFE and provide early and efficacious treatment to prevent long-term complications.
Transient synovitis is identified as extreme inflammation of the hip caused by a bacterial or viral infection that leads to rapid swelling, pain and lose of mobility. Our pediatric team diagnoses and treats your child’s transient synovitis with a combination of non-surgical therapies, include anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and at-home care, such as rest, observation and more.

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