Campuses: FH.com Home button

State of Health The Florida Hospital Blog

Back To All Blogs

What to Do When Your Child Has Bone and Joint Pain

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

An active childhood can mean frequent bumps and bruises for many children and young athletes. But when your child is experiencing intense pain or limited mobility, it can be hard to know how to find them the treatment they need.

Whether your child has been living with years of scoliosis or suffers an acute sports injury, the physicians at the Florida Hospital for Children want to help. We treat a wide range of conditions including sprains, tendonitis, fractures, scoliosis, ligamentous tears, and concussions. Our pediatric orthopedic clinics and neighborhood rehabilitation centers are here to heal your young athlete and help get them back in the game.

Katerina A. Backus, MD, FAAP, CAQSM explains how to best recognize injuries in your active child and get them back on the path toward health and wellness.

When to See a Doctor

“Soreness is typically a part of athletics, but pain that causes a limp, limited range of motion, awakening at night and inability to engage in physical activity is worrisome,” says Dr. Backus. “Swelling after injury is also concerning.”

Children's bones are particularly susceptible to injury because of growth plates (physes) and secondary growth plates (apophyses) in growing bone. Injury to children's growth plates may lead to growth arrest or growth deformity. Early recognition and treatment of these injuries is very important.

Dr. Backus also warns about one injury that can result from collision or impact: “The pediatric brain may be more susceptible to concussion, and the concussion course may be prolonged in young athletes. Concussions or suspected concussions should always be evaluated by a physician who is skilled in concussion evaluation and treatment.”


Identifying the Issues

How do we check your child for the presence of an orthopedic injury? Often, it’s a specialist’s expertise paired with advanced imaging technology.

“Radiographs (like X-rays) are typically used in the evaluation of most musculoskeletal injuries,” says Dr. Backus. “But there is no substitution for keen clinical diagnosis skills, including pertinent history and clinical examination. If further imaging is needed, Florida Hospital and FRI have many locations where CTs and MRIs can be obtained.”

In an effort to make your child as comfortable as possible, many imaging facilities have video goggles which allow young children to watch a movie during their procedure. These goggles have decreased the need for anesthesia in young children during routine MRIs.

Personalized Treatment Programs

“Our initial approach to treatment is often non-invasive,” Dr. Backus said. “We have many options for non-operative fracture treatment including waterproof casts and waterproof splints. We take both the child and the family into account when making treatment decisions and a plan of care.”

We know how difficult it is for your child to be sidelined. Depending on their injury, we try to allow them to be as active as possible while healing. With the help of highly trained physical and occupational therapists at your local Florida Hospital for Children, we create rehab plans that are custom to your child's injury and physical activity. 

A multidisciplinary approach helps our teams create the most comprehensive care plan for your child. “With hundreds of pediatric subspecialists at Florida Hospital for Children, we often participate in coordinated physician collaboration to ensure preeminent treatment of our patients,” said Dr. Backus.

If you’re concerned that your child may have an orthopedic issue, let us help get you answers. The sooner they see a specialist, the sooner they can get back to living their best life. To request an appointment, please send us a message or call 855-303-KIDS.