When to See a Pediatric Orthopaedist

 
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John P. Sheehan, M.D.
Boys Town Orthopaedics

It’s inevitable. Every kid will fall, twist, bump and bruise some part on his body. How do parents know if this injury is serious enough to see a pediatric orthopaedic physician?

Parents should seek medical advice for any injury that seems out of the ordinary. Listen for complaints of pain and watch for non-verbal cues of injury. If your daughter twists her knee during dance practice, she may avoid putting pressure on that leg or walk with a limp. Many conditions can be evaluated and treated by your primary physician, but others need to be examined by a pediatric orthopaedic.

Pediatric orthopaedic physicians deal with the problems of the bone, joint, spine and limb development in the growing child. These problems can be present at birth, occur during growth or be a result of a trauma or accident. Pediatric Orthopaedists have an additional year of school to learn the unique skeletal structure of infants, children and adolescents, and the specialized treatment this uniqueness requires.

If your child does need to see a pediatric orthopaedist for a trauma or accident-related injury, he will most likely have an x-ray or MRI to determine the source of the pain. Common pediatric injuries seen by orthopaedists include bone breaks and fractures. Since children have growth plates, children’s fractures often need special care and attention to treatment. Most fractures can be treated without surgery, but should be monitored.

Your child is bound to get a few bumps and bruises down the road. For the most part, they will be ones you can “brush off” or “kiss to make better.” If your child does sustain an injury that causes concern, seek medical advice.