Children's Hospital Colorado
Orthopedics Institute
Orthopedics Institute
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Pediatric Orthopedic Conditions from Head to Toe

Our nationally renowned care team treats all types of pediatric orthopedic conditions, from common breaks and sprains and sports injuries, to complex spinal deformities and bone cancers. Whether you're a young athlete with a pain you can't explain, or a parent with a child whose "boo boo" you don't understand, this list of pediatric orthopedic conditions is a great place to start. And our team of orthopedic specialists at Children’s Hospital Colorado is here when you're ready for an expert to take a look.

Pediatric orthopedic conditions by body part

Concussion

A concussion is a mild injury to the brain, usually from a head impact, that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. Serious problems after a concussion are rare but can occur. Our Concussion Program evaluates and treat kids — often young athletes — who have experienced concussions and other types of mild brain injuries.

Neck fracture

Broken bones in the neck, or a neck fracture, result from high-energy trauma like a car accident or a fall. Our specialists will evaluate your child’s fracture and put together an appropriate treatment plan.

Torticollis

Congenital torticollis is a muscular problem that can happen when a baby is born. The muscle on one side of the neck is tight and causes the head to tilt to that side. Our neck and spine experts give you exercises to stretch your baby’s muscles. With these exercises, the condition typically goes away on its own.

Torticollis may also happen to kids and adults after a bad night’s sleep or an extended amount of time in an uncomfortable position. Although uncomfortable, torticollis is usually nothing to worry about and goes away in a couple days with rest and relaxation.

Whiplash

Whiplash, or neck sprain or strain, is an injury to the neck caused by a sudden backward or forward jerking motion of the head, such as a car crash. We may need to use specialized imaging tests to diagnose whiplash. This can include a CT scan or MRI. Treatment may include pain relief medications, physical therapy, heat, ice or injections.

Dislocated shoulder

A dislocated shoulder, also known as shoulder instability, is a condition in which the humeral head, or ball, comes out of the socket. Our sports medicine experts treat shoulder dislocation, common in young athletes, and create a care plan to help reduce the risk of future dislocations.

Shoulder pain

The large range of motion of the shoulder makes it more susceptible to injury, which can cause shoulder pain. Your child may feel pain only with certain movements, such as throwing a baseball, or the pain may be constant. Many shoulder conditions are aggravated by specific actions or sports. Our experts will evaluate the pain, make a diagnosis and recommend treatment.

Back pain

Back pain in children is common and can impact any area from the neck to the lower back. The pain is often a result of injury to the body’s muscles. Our specialists can typically treat these injuries without surgery.

Kyphosis

Kyphosis, or hunchback, is an excessive curve of the spine that results in an unusual rounding of the upper back. We treat all three types of kyphosis: postural, Scheuermann’s and congenital.

Scoliosis

There are two types of scoliosis: idiopathic and early onset. Scoliosis is an abnormal curve in the spine that often occurs when a child experiences a growth spurt. Our pediatric orthopedic specialists help families determine the best treatment plan for their child based on the child’s age, as well as the type and degree of their scoliosis.

Spina bifida

Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the bones of the spine, or vertebrae, do not properly form around part of the baby’s spinal cord. In these cases, our specialists perform tests to determine the specific type of spina bifida — occulta, meningocele or myelomeningocele — and recommend the best treatment plan.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis occurs when there is a slip of the bone where a stress fracture, or spondylolysis, has occurred. Essentially, the bone is so weak that it is unable to maintain its position in the spine. Our specialists will evaluate non-surgical treatment options first but may recommend surgery if necessary.

Spondylolysis

Spondylolysis is a stress fracture on a spine bone. In young athletes, it is often caused by repeated stress on the lower back. If diagnosed early, the treatment plan may include physical therapy and a brace. Our specialists may recommend surgery if the condition has progressed into spondylolisthesis.

Arthrogryposis

A child born with arthrogryposis has joint contractures, or stiff joints. This means some of their joints don’t move much or may even be locked in one position.

Brachial plexus birth palsy

Brachial plexus birth palsy is an injury to a baby’s brachial plexus nerves, located between the neck and shoulder. It is one of the most common injuries that can occur during birth, and it often happens during difficult deliveries.

Camptodactyly

A child with camptodactyly cannot straighten their finger because the middle joint of that finger does not work correctly. Camptodactyly can happen in any finger, but it happens most often in the pinky finger.

Clinodactyly

Clinodactyly is when a finger curves toward the finger next to it. Clinodactyly can happen in any finger or toe, but the most common type is when the small finger curves toward the ring finger.

Finger thumb hypoplasia/aplasia

Hypoplasia is when a baby is born with a finger or thumb that is not fully developed. Aplasia is when a baby is born without a finger or thumb.

Ganglion cyst

A ganglion cyst is a fluid-filled sac that often develops on the hand or wrist near a joint or tendon. It looks like a bump on the surface of the skin.

Mallet finger

A mallet finger is a deformity of the finger that happens when the tendon that straightens the finger, or extensor tendon, is injured or damaged.

Polydactyly

Having an extra finger or toe is called polydactyly. The extra finger or toe may be only soft tissue, or extra skin, but some include bones.

Radial dysplasia

With radial dysplasia, the radius bone does not form like it should, and it may be short or missing altogether. The thumb may also be small, not work correctly or missing altogether. Additional bones and other structures of the forearm, wrist or hand may be abnormal or missing altogether. There is also often a curving of the forearm toward the thumb.

Symbrachydactyly

When a child is diagnosed with symbrachydactyly, it means their hand did not develop as it should have. This might include short hands or fingers, webbed hands or missing bones.

Syndactyly

Syndactyly is when a child is born with fingers or toes that are joined. It is the most common hand difference that happens at birth.

Trigger finger

Trigger finger is when a finger or thumb gets stuck in a bent position and then straightens with a snap. If trigger finger is severe, the finger may become locked in a bent position.

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a problem with the shape of the hip that leads to instability of the joint as the hip develops before, during or after birth.

Femoroacetabular impingement

Femoroacetabular impingement occurs when the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped. Because these bones do not fit together as they should, they rub against each other and cause damage to the joint. To treat femoroacetabular impingement, specialists in our Hip Preservation Program work closely with additional departments, including physical therapy, sports medicine, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology, to provide a full spectrum of care.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs in children who have previously had developmental dysplasia of the hip. Our experts provide hip dysplasia patients with options for pain control, function improvement and preservation of the hip joint.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease

With Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, the blood supply to the top of a thigh bone is temporarily disrupted. Orthopedic hip specialists at Children's Colorado can determine the best course of treatment for toddlers and children with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease.

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a disorder of the hip joint that is caused by a weakness in the growth plate and most commonly occurs after periods of rapid growth after the onset of puberty. We are nationally recognized for excellence in slipped capital femoral epiphysis diagnosis and treatment plans for children.

Transient synovitis

Transient synovitis is inflammation of the hip joint that causes pain and limping. In severe cases, a child may not be able to shift their body weight to that leg. Transient synovitis can be a result of a recent viral infection, such as an upper respiratory infection.

ACL injury

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is a commonly injured ligament in the knee. We typically recommend surgical reconstruction, and we pay special attention to your child’s continued growth throughout the treatment process. The goal of treatment is long-term preservation of the knee and a timely return to sports and other physical activity.

Knee pain

Knee pain, also known as runner’s knee, often occurs in runners and young athletes. It causes pain around the kneecap. We evaluate what might be causing the knee pain and then recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Kneecap instability or dislocated knee

Kneecap instability, commonly known as a dislocated knee, happens when the patella is knocked off to the side of the knee joint from a hard impact or twisting motion. Our specialists use physical therapy, bracing or surgery to return the knee to its proper place and decrease the risk of future dislocations.

Osgood-Schlatter disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain during adolescence. The condition causes swelling and soreness on the upper shin bone below the kneecap. It’s typically caused by a growth spurt and goes away on its own. We recommend pain control treatment methods, such as stretching and anti-inflammatory medication.

Osteochondritis dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans occurs when a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone beneath it, become separated from the rest of the bone. We evaluate your child’s growth stage, physical activity and level of cartilage injury, and then recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Sindig-Larsen-Johannson disease

Sindig-Larsen-Johannson disease occurs during a period of preadolescence when the kneecap is going through a rapid growth spurt. It causes pain, swelling and soreness of the kneecap. We recommend pain control treatment methods, such as stretching and anti-inflammatory medication, as well as decreasing your child’s physical activity until the growth spurt and pain subside.

Bowed legs

Bowed legs is a common condition that occurs in infants and toddlers. A child with bowed legs has a space between their lower legs and knees that may be a result of either one or both of the legs curving outward. The condition may correct itself as your child grows, but if not, your primary care doctor may refer you to our Limb Deformity Program within our Orthopedics Institute.

Shin pain and shin splints

Kids can feel shin pain on the front of the lower leg, below the knee and above the ankle. Our Sports Medicine Center regularly treats shin pain, or shin splints, in young athletes.

Ankle sprain

Ankle sprains can occur when the ankle twists or turns beyond its normal range of motion, causing stretching or tearing of ligaments. Our board-certified experts at the Sports Medicine Center often treat sprains that result from walking on an uneven surface, falling or playing sports.

Clubfoot

Clubfoot is a deformity of the foot that requires treatment from an experienced orthopedist. A child with clubfoot has an abnormally positioned foot that causes them to turn their ankle inward and walk on the toe and outside edge of their foot.

Flexible flatfoot

Flatfoot is a condition that occurs when the arch of a foot seems to shrink or disappear, making the foot look flat. Our doctors treat the both types of flatfoot: flexible flatfoot and rigid flatfoot.

Sever's disease

Sever’s disease is a condition that often occurs in preadolescents, and it causes pain, swelling and soreness of the heel bone. Our orthopedic specialists treat Sever’s disease by controlling the pain, which usually goes away after the adolescent growth spurt.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of chronic conditions that affect body movement, posture and muscle coordination. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but experts at our internationally renowned Cerebral Palsy Program offer treatment, training and therapy that can help improve your child’s motor function and quality of life.

Compartment syndrome

Compartment syndrome is typically the result of a muscle injury that causes the muscle to swell. The compartment that holds the muscle can't stretch, so the swollen muscle doesn't have any room to spread out. Pressure in the muscles increases, causing pain. Additionally, essential nutrients may no longer be reaching the muscle and nerves. If left untreated, compartment syndrome may lead to tissue death, which requires surgery.

Movement disorders

Movement disorders affect the way a child’s body moves. This can include too much or too little movement, as well as coordination problems. If we suspect your child has a movement disorder, we’ll refer you to our Pediatric Movement Disorders Clinic. The Clinic is divided into two subspecialty clinics: The Tic, Tone & Tremor Clinic and the Complex Movement Clinic.

Spasticity and tone

Spasticity and decreased tone refers to muscles that are tense, resist movement and appear floppy. Spasticity and decreased tone can be a long-term effect of medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy, in which the brain and spinal cord are damaged or fail to develop normally. Although there is no cure, specialists from our Spasticity and Tone Management Clinic, our Cerebral Palsy Program and our Specialty Rehabilitation Clinics help families manage spasticity, tonicity and abnormal muscle function in children and adolescents.

Acute and chronic bone infections

Bone infections in children are particularly difficult to treat. Also known as osteomyelitis, infections can spread from blood or soft tissue, or can originate in the bone itself. Children have a greater tendency to develop bone infections because their bodies are growing rapidly. Our multidisciplinary team of orthopedic providers, infectious disease specialists and radiologists follow a dedicated protocol to combat bone infections.

Bone tumors

If you suspect your child has a bone tumor, or your primary care doctor refers you to our pediatric Orthopedic Tumor Program, our first priority is to determine the type of tumor: cancerous or noncancerous. After that, we develop a treatment plan.

Broken bones (fractures)

Fractures, or broken bones, are frequent in children. Fractures can range from simple to complex and often occur from a fall or by playing sports. Signs of a fracture may include swelling, pain or deformity — typically a bump or change in bone shape. It’s good to have a pediatric provider evaluate a possible broken bone because fractures in children can sometimes affect growth plates and lead to abnormalities.

Casting is the most common method of treatment, although surgery may be necessary.

Growing pains

Growing pain is a term used for common, harmless muscle pains that often happen at night. After our orthopedic specialists determine that your child’s pain is not the result of a more serious condition, we treat growing pains with typical methods, such as stretching, massaging, warm baths or showers and an occasional dosage of anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen.

Limb deformities

Limb deformities can cause pain and hinder your child's ability to function. Your child may be born with a deformity, such as an arm or leg that’s too long or short. A deformity may also be the result of a traumatic accident. Our pediatric orthopedic trauma providers work to correct the deformity and restore balance, form and function.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for?

Rare pediatric orthopedic conditions and injuries are likely not all listed on our website. Please call the Orthopedics Institute at 720-777-6600 for more information on a condition or to schedule an appointment.

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