Common Paediatric Orthopaedic Conditions

Part of: Children's Health
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Bow legged knee, otherwise known as bow legs or genu varum, is a common childhood condition where the knees bend or curve outward at the knees. As a result, both knees do not touch when the child is standing.

In most cases, bow legged knee is normal in children below the age of 2. As your child grows, their knee should naturally straighten without the need for treatment.

However, if your child's knees remain curved by the age of 3, they need to be evaluated by a doctor. Left untreated, bow legs may cause difficulties in the child's later years.

Learn more about bow legs and its treatment options.

Clubfoot is a condition in which the forefoot (part of the foot connected to the lower leg bone) is abnormally twisted and points inward and downward, resembling a golf club. This may happen with one or both feet.

Medically, the condition is called congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV). About half of all affected children have clubfoot in both feet, and boys are twice as likely as girls to have it.

During infancy, clubfoot does not usually cause pain. However, if it is left untreated, your child may not be able to walk normally and may develop foot pain due to incorrect foot positioning.

Learn more about clubfoot and our treatments.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), also known as congenital dislocation of the hip, is a condition where the hip joint is not properly formed in babies and young children.

DDH may occur in one or both hips and is more common among girls than boys. It can lead to difficulty walking and joint damage if left untreated. Hence, an early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent such complications.

Learn more about developmental dysplasia of the hip and its treatment options.

Flat foot or flat feet is a condition where one or both feet have little to no arch. As a result, the pads of the feet press flat on the ground while standing.

For most children, having flat feet is not a cause for concern and does not cause any pain. However, as the arch helps to distribute body weight, people with flat feet may experience pain or problems with walking, running or standing.

Learn more about flat feet and our treatments.

Limb length discrepancy (LLD) or limb length inequality refers to a condition where one arm or one leg is shorter than the other. In particular, differences in leg length are likely to impact day-to-day activities such as walking and playing sports.

Treatment for leg length discrepancy depends on its cause, severity and your child’s age. In many cases, minor differences in leg length can be corrected by wearing a lift or insert in one shoe. For more significant discrepancies, surgery may be recommended.

Learn more about limb length discrepancy and its treatment options.

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) affects the hip joint in pre-teenagers and teenagers who are still growing.

In SCFE, the neck of the thigh bone (femur) slips out of position at the level of the growth plate, in relation to the head. The growth plate, which is made up of cartilage, is a point of weakness. The resulting slippage affects the alignment of the bone, and hence the joint.

SCFE develops gradually over time, usually during the onset of puberty when there is a period of rapid growth. It is the most common hip disorder in pre-teens and teenagers, usually between the ages of 10 and 16.

Learn more about SCFE and our treatments.

Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine curves sideways, usually in an ‘S’ shape. In addition to curving, the spine may also twist or rotate.

Scoliosis is usually found in school children during health screening by nurses who look for unevenness of the torso when the child bends forward. It cannot be treated by simply correcting your child's posture as it is not caused by:

  • Carrying heavy objects (e.g. a heavy school bag on one shoulder)
  • Poor standing or sleeping postures
  • Sports or physical activities
  • Lack of calcium in the diet

Learn more about scoliosis and our treatments.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.