We are fortunate to have so many kinds of doctors who specialize in different areas, such as cardiologists, who specialize in the study and treatment of the heart, and neurologists, who work with the brain and determine treatments for illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. The field of pediatric orthopedics is specifically important because it treats disorders related to growth and development of the skeleton, muscles, and joints in children. Because their bodies are still growing, children have different reactions to injuries, infections, and disorders. Here are a few of the limb and spine deformities that doctors in the field of pediatric orthopedics treat.
Clubfoot is a deformity in which a baby’s foot is turned inward, sideways, or upward. Although clubfoot is not painful during infancy, if it is not treated, the child will not be able to walk normally as he or she ages. Most cases of clubfoot can be corrected successfully with a nonsurgical treatment in which specialists use gentle stretching and casting to gradually correct the deformity. In some severe cases, however, surgery may be necessary to adjust the ligaments, tendons, and joints in the foot and ankle in order to correct clubfoot.
A spine with scoliosis curves sideways instead of forming a straight line down the middle of the back. This condition is very common and is seen in many children and adolescents and is the most common form of scoliosis, idiopathic scoliosis, tends to be genetic. Treatment options for scoliosis include observation, bracing, and surgery. Children whose curves are mild will be observed to make sure that the condition does not worsen as they grow. Back braces are worn to prevent the enlarging of an existing curve as the child grows. Wearing the brace daily can prevent the curve from growing large enough to require surgery, however, in some cases the curve will continue to grow despite wearing the brace. In these cases, surgery is necessary to correct scoliosis.
Limb Length Discrepancy
Arms and legs that have differences in length are called limb length discrepancies. In most cases, arm length differences cause little to no difference in the function of the arms and the quality of life of the patient. However, extreme differences in leg length can greatly affect a patient’s health. Some causes of limb length discrepancies in the legs are previous injuries to the leg, bone infections during growth, and bone diseases. This condition can make walking extremely difficult or even impossible depending on the severity. If the condition is not severe, a shoe lift is recommended to help the patient be able to walk more comfortably. However, if the condition is extreme, surgery must be performed to correct the discrepancy.
Doctors in the field of pediatric orthopedics are superheroes to children who depend on their knowledge and expertise to increase their health and give them the quality of life they deserve.