A hip injury can be hard to deal with, both for the child who has the
injury and for the parent or caregiver. A child who has a hip injury may feel
pain in the hip, groin, thigh, or knee. A child in pain may limp or be unable
or unwilling to stand, walk, or move the injured hip. A baby in pain may cry,
be fussy, and have other
signs of pain.
To better understand hip
injuries, it may be helpful to know how the
hip works. It is the largest ball-and-socket joint in
the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket
(acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the
shoulder joint but it does not move as freely. The hip joint is held together
by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint
capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint
and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in
the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
A sudden (acute) injury may occur from a
fall on a hip, a direct blow to a hip or knee, or abnormal twisting or bending
of the leg. Acute injuries include:
Treatment for a hip injury depends on the location, type,
and severity of the injury as well as the child's age, general health, and
activity level. Treatment may include first aid measures; application of a
brace, cast, harness, or traction; physical therapy;
medicines; or surgery.
Check your child's symptoms to
decide if and when your child should see a doctor.
Major trauma is any event that can
cause very serious injury, such as:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Shock is a life-threatening condition that may occur quickly
after a sudden illness or injury.
Symptoms of shock in a child may include:
Pain in children 3 years and older
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
With severe bleeding, any of these may
With moderate bleeding, any of these may
With mild bleeding, any of these may be
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in children are:
Based on your answers, you need
or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood
supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons
for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn
blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color
returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area
looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and
this change does not go away.
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
Symptoms of infection may
Based on your answers, you need
Put direct, steady pressure on the
wound until help arrives. Keep the area raised if you can.
Home treatment may help relieve
your child's hip pain, swelling, and stiffness. If your child will cooperate,
use the following tips. If your child becomes upset or will not cooperate, do
not force your child.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
If your child has a cast, see
cast care tips.
Call your child's doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent the chance
of hip injuries.
Establish good safety habits early so that your child will
continue them when he or she is older.
Injuries may occasionally be a sign of
abuse. You may be able to prevent further abuse by
reporting it and seeking help.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared
to answer the following questions:
July 29, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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