The hip joints of a child must be connected properly to make him walk, run, jump, and perform similar physical activities. But slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is a hip condition that prevents teen agers from walking and running by shifting the upper part of the thighbone or femur abnormally. The shift in femur weakens the hip joints, and makes it difficult for the child to walk or run.
Perthes disease is a complex childhood hip disorder which may last for a period of time. The condition is caused due to inadequate blood supply to the femoral head of hip joint. As the blood supply ceases, the bone cells keep dying gradually. The bone cells start growing back once the blood supply becomes normal.
Both cause and symptoms of SCFE vary from one child to another. The symptoms even differ according to the severity of the condition. Normally, a child experience intermittent pain in his groin, knee, thigh, or hip, if he is suffering from mild or stable SCFE. On the other hand, symptoms of severe or unstable SCFE includes a child experiencing pain suddenly, inability to walk or run, and the affected leg turning outward or appearing shorter than the other leg. However, the symptoms of SCFE aggravate when the child performs any physical activity.
While diagnosing SCFE, an orthopaedic checks if the child is finding it difficult to move his leg or hip. Also, they check if the child is experiencing pain while moving the specific leg. They even examine the symptoms and severity of SCFE based on X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the affected hip.
The skilled orthopaedic always treat SCFE surgically. However, they recommend the child to take adequate rest, use crutches, and avoid putting pressure on the affected leg to prevent the growth plate from slipping further. The experienced orthopaedic even advise the parents to get the child admitted to the hospital and perform the surgery without any delay. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and using specialized equipment.
Once the surgery is over, the child can walk with crutches after a few days. But the child has to use a wheelchair for several weeks if both his hips are treated surgically. The orthopaedic still keep monitoring the condition by recommending follow up X-rays. The child can use his legs and hips normally if SCFE is diagnosed and treated by skilled orthopaedic without any delay.