Childhood is a stage when humans are at their most active. As they play, children tend to be prone to injuries and accidents. If your child is hurt or in pain, taking them to their pediatrician might seem like the most obvious choice, but there are many cases where you should go to an orthopedic clinic instead.
Let’s take a look at when an orthopedic clinic is more appropriate than a visit to a pediatrician.
An Orthopedic Injury
A pediatrician would be the most appropriate go-to professional if your child is sick or is feeling unwell. Pediatricians have generalized health knowledge about children, so they can help if your child has a fever, ear infection, or another disease. It’s also beneficial to visit a pediatric clinic if your child feels unwell and you can’t identify the reason.
However, for orthopedic injuries, an orthopedic clinic is your best option. Orthopedic injuries include conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system: muscles, bones, and connective tissues like ligaments and tendons. These typically occur while your child is at play or when participating in sports. It’s best to consider going to an orthopedic clinic if your child has any of the following:
- Joint sprains
- Muscle strains
- Tissue tears, like ACL or meniscus tears
- Shin splints
An orthopedic doctor is trained and knowledgeable about these conditions, because it’s their specialty. They’ll be able to provide your child with a comprehensive care plan, from diagnosis to recovery, when it comes to musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.
Unstable Posture And Gait
An unstable gait and unusual posture can be signs of disorders concerning your child’s physicality. An orthopedic doctor may check your child’s:
- Balance and coordination
- Muscle strength
- Body alignment
- Leg measurements
- Neck and spine condition and deformities
- Risk of falling
In addition, your child’s healthcare provider may run tests to aid their diagnosis. After determining the cause of your child’s unusual posture and unstable gait, they will propose the best path forward. Usually, assistive devices like splints and physical therapy work to support children with such issues. In less severe cases, simple orthotics or shoe inserts may suffice.
Visiting an orthopedic clinic is particularly critical if your child’s instability is due to developmental issues or growth concerns. The longer a child lives with a growth defect, the worse it can get. Some common orthopedic conditions that you should address immediately include:
- Knock knee
Children can also have many other growth deformities. It’s best to see an orthopedic clinic as soon as possible if you notice your child having difficulty moving.
Pain or feeling stiffness when moving is another indication that you should have your child checked by an orthopedic doctor. These symptoms may indicate an undiagnosed or untreated musculoskeletal condition. Some of these conditions include:
- Sprains and strains
- Knee pain or pain in other joints
- Physical trauma
Visiting an orthopedic clinic for these concerns is better than a pediatric clinic. Pediatricians tend to have generalized knowledge of a child’s health. However, an orthopedic clinic specializes in these kinds of injuries, giving orthopedists an edge in determining the best treatment and recovery plan for your child.
A Soft Tissue Injury
Soft tissues protect and connect your child’s bones and internal organs. Soft tissues include:
- Connective tissue, like tendons and ligaments
- Blood and lymph vessels
The most common soft tissue injuries include contusions (bruises), sprains, strains, stress fractures, and tendonitis, to name a few. If some time has passed since your child’s injury and it’s yet to improve, you should see an orthopedic doctor.
It’s possible that your child got injured but didn’t receive proper treatment for it. Another case could be that their condition is worse than what you thought. There may be more to their injury, like a previously unknown cause or an underlying complication. Going to an orthopedic clinic will help you learn more about your child’s health concerns. An orthopedic physician will be able to give you and your child an effective treatment plan.
Orthopedic Clinic In Little Rock And North Little Rock, AR
While it is true that pediatricians are the primary healthcare providers for children, there are certain cases when you should visit an orthopedic clinic instead. That includes when your child has an orthopedic injury, their gait is unstable, and they find it difficult to move. You should also visit a pediatric orthopedic physician if your child has a soft tissue injury that isn’t improving.
If you’re looking for an orthopedic clinic in Little Rock or North Little Rock, look no further than Bowen Hefley Orthopedics. Dr. William F. Hefley is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a team of highly-experienced and trained providers. They’ll be able to give your child the comprehensive care they deserve. To know more about our services, call our friendly staff at (800) 336-2412. To schedule a consultation, you may use our online appointment request form.
We look forward to serving you at one of our two convenient locations in Arkansas!