ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Evaluation of the Acutely Limping Child - Article
ABSTRACT: A limp may be defined as any asymmetric deviation from a normal gait pattern. The differential diagnosis of a limp includes trauma, infection, neoplasia and inflammatory, congenital, neuromuscular or developmental disorders. Initially, a broad differential diagnosis should be considered to avoid overlooking less common conditions such as diskitis or psoas abscess. In any patient with a complaint of knee or thigh pain, an underlying hip condition should be considered. The patient's age can further narrow the differential diagnosis, because certain disease entities are age-specific. Vigilance is warranted in conditions requiring emergent treatment such as septic hip. The challenge to the family physician is to identify the cause of the limp and determine if further observation or immediate diagnostic work-up is indicated.
ABSTRACT: Deviations from a normal age-appropriate gait pattern can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. In most children, limping is caused by a mild, self-limiting event, such as a contusion, strain, or sprain. In some cases, however, a limp can be a sign of a serious or even life-threatening condition. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can result in significant morbidity and mortality. Examination of a limping child should begin with a thorough history, focusing on the presence of pain, any history of trauma, and any associated systemic symptoms. The presence of fever, night sweats, weight loss, and anorexia suggests the possibility of infection, inflammation, or malignancy. Physical examination should focus on identifying the type of limp and localizing the site of pathology by direct palpation and by examining the range of motion of individual joints. Localized tenderness may indicate contusions, fractures, osteomyelitis, or malignancy. A palpable mass raises the concern of malignancy. The child should be carefully examined because non-musculoskeletal conditions can cause limping. Based on the most probable diagnoses suggested by the history and physical examination, the appropriate use of laboratory tests and imaging studies can help confirm the diagnosis.