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Fifteen-minute consultation: The limping child
  1. Jonathan Adamson1,
  2. Thomas Waterfield2
  1. 1Emergency Department, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan Adamson, Emergency Department, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK; jonadamson{at}


The limping child is a common presentation to paediatric services. In most instances the cause is benign with few, if any, investigations required. There is, however, always that concern that the limping child may have an underlying limb-threatening or life-threatening disease. This poses a challenge to clinicians, who must find that balance between correctly identifying disease early and avoiding the risks and harms of overinvestigation. In this article we discuss the diagnostic approach to the limping child and present a structure for assessment, investigation and risk management.

  • limp
  • orthopaedics
  • general paediatrics
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  • Contributors JA and TW planned the manuscript. JA wrote the body of the text, tables and added the figures. TW edited the document and the tables. Both authors have agreed to the full content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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