The Paley Middle East Clinic at Burjeel Medical City, Abu Dhabi, provides the most advanced Orthopedics, including pediatric Orthopedics, to treat congenital, developmental, and post-traumatic musculoskeletal conditions. Paley Middle East Clinic is a hub for complex procedures led by an experienced team of specialists who follow a treatment philosophy focusing on preservation and cure.

It treats special orthopedic conditions, including congenital limb deformities, post-traumatic limb conditions, bone healing problems, bone defects, skeletal dysplasia, metabolic disorders, foot deformities, peripheral nerve disorders, and other developmental deformities.

Let us understand Pediatric Orthopedics and why children benefit from consulting a pediatric orthopedist.

What is Pediatric Orthopedics?

Pediatric orthopedics is a branch of pediatric medicine specializing in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems in children, i.e., joints, muscles, and bones. It is a specialized field dealing with the issues of growth-phase bones, muscles, joints, and ligaments in newborns to teenagers. For example, a growing bone in children differs from a fully-grown bone in adults, and a pediatric orthopedist better attends to problems related to the growing bone.

Children are not miniature adults; their musculoskeletal structure is still developing, and their problems must be treated by a doctor who has specialized knowledge, training, and experiences particular to children.

Musculoskeletal Problems in Children

The range of pediatric orthopedics is vast. It includes problems from head to toe, including neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hands, fingers, spine, hip, knees, legs, and toes.

There are three broad areas in pediatric orthopedics:

  • Growth phase: The child’s bones may grow faster than the muscles and tendons, leading to sore muscles and stiff joints.
  • Injuries: They could be playtime or sports injuries.
  • Congenital abnormalities.

Some common examples of orthopedic problems in children include:

  • Bowlegs: It’s common in infants; as a child grows, it usually corrects itself.
  • Flat Feet: Absence of arch development in children’s feet as they grow.
  • Asymmetrical Leg length.
  • In-Toeing (Pigeon Toes).
  • Knock Knees.
  • Toe Walking.
  • Polydactyly (additional digits on hands or feet).
  • Gait abnormalities (limping).
  • Broken bones.
  • Torn ligaments.
  • Nerve problems.
  • Bone, joint, and muscle infections.
  • Painful joints after activity.
  • Congenital deformities.
  • Limb and spine deformities at birth.
  • Growth Plate injuries (see below).

Pediatric Orthopedics: Significance of Growth Plate Injuries in Children

Children with bone injuries have a particular risk of growth plate injury. The growth plate is the area near the long bones where the bone tissue is still developing, and it is the new bone tissue that converts into solid bone during adulthood. If not treated correctly, an injury to the growth plate due to a fracture, a fall, or sudden impact may stunt bone development.

When Should I Take My Child to a Pediatric Orthopedist?

Two broad categories of concern in pediatric orthopedics are congenital and acquired problems.

The first category is related to problems at birth. If a family history of orthopedics-related congenital disabilities or prenatal screening has revealed concerns, an evaluation of the infant by a pediatric orthopedist is advised.

Breech deliveries are usually a reason to get the baby checked by a pediatric orthopedist. Studies suggest a link between breech babies and hip dysplasia, a condition when the hip socket does not fully embrace the head of the thighbone or femur, leaving a loose connection that could result in hip dislocation in adulthood.

In acquired problems, the child may suffer fractures, injuries, or accidents to bone or muscle.

Sometimes the injury is not visible as in a hairline fracture. If you suspect your child is unwell or experiencing movement pain after playtime or a sport, take them to a pediatric orthopedist. Do not treat the injury at home, thinking it is just a bruise.

Sudden gait abnormalities, limp, or a titling walk also suggest a problem.

What Are the Treatments in Pediatric Orthopedics?

Depending on the type of problem, the procedures can be noninvasive or surgical, including physiotherapy. For example, injuries and fractures require splints, casts, or braces, while severe congenital conditions require surgical procedures.