Causes of a limp
Many things can cause a limp – some are painful and some aren’t. The most likely causes of limping will vary according to the age of your child.
In preschoolers, the commonest cause of limp is a viral infection. This is called ‘irritable hip’.
Symptoms of a limp
If your child has a limp, she’ll favour the leg that doesn’t hurt when she walks. She’ll put as little weight as possible on the leg that hurts. She’ll usually feel pain all over her hip, but might be able to point to the painful area.
A limp can alter the way your child’s muscles work and might cause them to ache because they’re under increased strain. If the limp is caused by an infection, your child will usually have a fever, and he’ll be irritable and not eating well.
When to see a doctor about a limp
If your child limps for more than a day and there’s no obvious cause – for example, a tight shoe – you should take your child to see your GP as soon as possible.
You should also see your GP if:
- your child has an unexplained fever
- your child refuses to walk at all
- there’s obvious swelling of part of the hip or leg, especially around a joint.
Treatment for a limp
Treatment for a limp depends on its cause.
If your child is limping and in pain, you can give her some pain relief – for example, paracetamol.
For minor injuries, your child must just need to rest. For more serious problems, your GP might refer your child to a specialist for further assessment.