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Definition of a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon

Children are not just small adults. This is especially true when it comes to childrens' bones and joints, and the problems they can have with their musculoskeletal system. A pediatric orthopaedist is the best-trained and most experienced doctor to properly evaluate and treat bone or joint or muscle problems in a child who is still growing. A pediatric orthopaedic surgeon is a doctor who takes care of children with musculoskeletal problems. That means any child with a bone, joint, or muscle problem or disease and certain nerve problems and diseases. If your child has something wrong with his or her arms, legs, hands, feet or spine, a pediatric orthopaedist is most likely to be the most appropriate doctor to see. Pediatric orthopaedists take care of..

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  • Abnormalities in how children walk
  • Differences in leg lengths
  • Deformities that are present at birth such as clubfeet and dislocated hips, deformities of hand, neck and back and feet
  • Deformities that develop later in childhood such as crooked legs and curved spines (scoliosis)
A pediatric orthopaedist also takes care of acute problems such as
  • Broken bones
  • Infections in bones or joints
  • Tumor in bones

When is a leg length difference important?

Leg length differences can be mild or severe. Many people have a small difference is their leg lengths without any problems. The difference may be stable or progressive. The child may need treatment or observation based on the history and examination. The treatment can be conservative or surgical depending on the amount of the difference.

When should I be concerned about leg deformity?

Leg deformity may be related to birth, developmental, or related to trauma, infection or bone tumors. Sometimes it gets better by itself without special shoes or braces. It needs to be assessed to find the cause to see if treatment is necessary.

Should I be concerned about my newborn baby's hip?

Some problems with your baby's hips can be related to the soft tissues, muscles or bones. A clinical exam is the first step to assessment. An ultrasound is the next best test for the baby up to age of 4 or 5 months old. After that an x-ray is the best test to see how well the hip joint itself is developing. Sometimes the hips will get better with growth. Sometimes the hips don't develop normally overtime. Therefore follow-up is essential.


Scoliosis is a condition where there is a curvature of the spine. It runs in families or may start in a child. It usually shows up in adolescents but may show up earlier. It is more frequent in girls than boys. The child should be seen by a Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon as soon as it is suspected or diagnosed for a baseline x-ray. Some curves are bigger than they look. If left untreated, the curve may progress to the point of needing surgery. Bracing is sometimes necessary. Scoliosis is NOT caused or made worse by back packs.

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