- disorders of the growth of bones
- fractured bones
- torn or inflamed muscles, tendons and cartilage
- disorders of the formation of joints
- infections in bones
- injury to nerves
- some disorders of the spine.
Some babies are born in a way that makes their risk of having abnormal hips a little greater. These babies should be assessed by your GP who will refer some of these babies for an x-ray. Some will need to be checked by an orthopaedic surgeon.
Fractures, except for the most minor ones, are treated by orthopaedic surgeons as they have the expertise to assess the damage around the fracture and ensure the best function is obtained after the fracture is mended. Because most children are very active they fracture bones and injure muscles and tendons. Minor fractures in small children are often "greenstick fractures" and some of these can be treated by your A+ E clinic or by some GPs and they do not need to come to Starship.
Most spinal conditions (especially minor curves in the spine) do not need a surgical operation. A small number of serious spinal conditions do need surgery. Your GP will tell you if your child's condition is one that could benefit from an orthopaedic opinion.
Some children develop disorders in which their walking (gait) looks abnormal. You should ask your GP if your child's gait is normal. Some cases of abnormal gait need to be assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon but most do not. Your GP is the best person to advise on your child. Some common conditions affecting gait are described below.
Some children develop "knock knees" and others get "bow legs". Some get "intoeing". Most of these cases do not need to be seen by an orthopaedic surgeon. There are more detailed descriptions of these conditions below.
If you are worried about your child, see your family doctor. GPs are the best people to decide whether your child needs a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon.