The field of orthopaedics began as a specialty that helped children with deformed and misaligned bones. It remains a major focus of orthopaedic surgeons. Because children's bones are still developing, special care is taken to repair affected areas while ensuring continued healthy growth.
Limb and spine deformities
Two of the most common deformities are scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and club foot. This developmental deformity causes the feet to turn inward, forcing a child to walk on the sides of the foot. It is usually corrected by surgery. Treatment involves casting the foot every two weeks to straighten it as much as possible before surgery. Depending on the situation surgery may be done at one year or as early as three months. The surgeon cuts the tendons in the foot and lengthens them so the foot can extend fully. After surgery, casting continues as well as a special brace.
When children have limping/uneven legs surgery can lengthen a short leg or stop growth of a longer leg, depending on the cause, age, and situation.
For bone fractures, orthopaedic surgeons are important in repairing complex fractures, which can affect appropriate limb growth in children.
Pediatric orthopedic surgeons also treat toe and other digit malformations, bone tumors in children, hip displaysia, and the effects of cerebral palsy and other health problems that impair movement.