What Is Paediatric Hip Pain?

Paediatric hip pain, also known as irritable hip, is a condition characterised by inflammation and soreness in the hip joint, which stands out as the primary source of hip pain in children.

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If your child is experiencing hip pain, it may be a sign of a serious underlying condition and should not be ignored. Parents should observe and stay vigilant of any signs of hip pain in children, and get checked by a medical professional if the pain doesn’t subside.

Causes of Paediatric Hip Pain

Juvenile hip pain and discomfort can arise from musculoskeletal injuries, developmental conditions, or infections. Examples of such conditions include:

  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphyses (SCFE)
  • Transient synovitis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
  • Muscle Strains and Tendinopathies
  • Apophysitis and apophyseal avulsion injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Bone tumours
  • Scoliosis and limb length difference

Given the potentially serious nature of the underlying causes of hip pain in children, it is recommended to seek a specialist assessment promptly. This proactive approach ensures that your child receives an accurate diagnosis swiftly, getting early intervention if the condition is found to be more complex or concerning.

How can paediatric hip pain be managed by a podiatrist?

Specialised paediatric-focused podiatrists will thoroughly examine your child’s condition to identify potential causes. The assessment includes:

  • Consultation and musculoskeletal assessment of your child’s lower limbs and musculoskeletal alignment.
  • Imaging technologies such as X-ray and diagnostic ultrasound to assess the structures, alignment and severity of lower limb conditions.

Equipped with advanced modalities designed for paediatric care, your podiatrist will offer suitable interventions based on the age, condition and severity of the condition. Interventions may include:

  • Customised foot orthotics or paediatric ankle foot orthotics (AFOS) to correct the child’s posture and improve gait
  • Stretching exercise programs to strengthen soft tissue structures in the hips
  • Technologies to reduce pain, stimulate healing, and improve joint range-of-motion

For parents concerned about their child's hip pain, consulting a podiatrist or healthcare provider is crucial. Early intervention not only addresses the immediate pain but also ensures the timely resolution of underlying issues, contributing to the overall well-being of the child.

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Common Symptoms

Joint catching, clicking, or snapping that worsens during or after activity
Joint stiffness, redness, swelling
Altered sensations
Limping, altered weight-bearing, clumsiness

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Related Conditions


What Is The Cause of My Child’s Hip Pain?

The most common causes of hip pain are transient synovitis, septic arthritis, slipped Capital Femoral Epiphyses, leg-Clave-Perthes disease. Your podiatrist will conduct an in-depth evaluation to accurately determine the cause of your child’s hip pain.

How Do I Know If My Child’s Hip Pain Is Serious?

If your child’s hip pain persists and is not relieved by rest, ice, heat, prescription pain relievers or if there are signs such as pain that is increasing in intensity, an inability to move their legs normally, an inability to bear weight on that leg, signs of infection (fever, chills, swelling, or redness). Seek a specialist’s opinion as soon as possible if your child is displaying any of these signs.

Can Growing Pains Occur In The Hips?

Growing pains are misnamed as the process of growth does not cause pain. The pain can instead be attributed to cases of soft tissue overuse in the hips which are common in children under the age of 10 who have gone through a full day of physical activities. These pains are most often felt at night and usually resolve by the next day, allowing the child to resume their activities. However, serious hip issues may be more chronic and can hinder the child’s level of activity consistently. Consult a podiatrist if you are unsure about whether your child’s hip pain is due to overuse or a more serious hip condition. Knowing the difference and rectifying the cause is imperative to resolving your child’s pain.

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An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

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