When your child has a problem with bones or muscles, it can impact his or her quality of life. You want to do everything in your power to help your child live a healthy, active life — and we can help.

photo of pediatric orthopaedic team

Our Children’s Health orthopaedics team provides a multidisciplinary team approach for any medical, social, emotional and physical needs related to orthopaedic conditions that affect children.

Pediatric orthopaedic care is offered in a nurturing environment with knowledgeable physicians and the latest technology. At MU Health Care, we’re using 3D printing technology to replicate patient’s bones for pre-operation studies. Our orthopaedic surgeons are able to hold an exact replica of a your child’s bone in their hands before surgery, which reduces time in the operating room.

We are committed to helping your child manage his or her condition and live life to the fullest. We have physicians who specialize in sports-related injuries, broken bones and a variety of movement and genetic disorders.

Pediatric orthopaedic conditions we treat

Scoliosis

A healthy spine has three normal curves that form an “S” shape of the spinal column. The "S" shape occurs as a child develops into an upright position.

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine develops in an abnormal lateral position (abnormal curve). The doctor will diagnose your child with scoliosis when the lateral (side) curve is greater than 10 degrees.

There are four types of scoliosis:

  • Congenital scoliosis (infantile idiopathic)
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Neuromuscular scoliosis

Learn more about our Fusionless Spine Surgery Options and our Scoliosis Mentoring Program

Skeletal dysplasia

Skeletal dysplasia is a group of genetic disorders characterized by short stature. They are frequently associated with a range of orthopaedic problems. Many children with skeletal dysplasia have a variety of medical and social concerns that cannot adequately be addressed by single visits with a pediatrician or internist.

To meet your child’s more complex needs, we understand that it requires ongoing coordinated treatment by specialists in the field. For this reason, the Missouri Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic at MU Health Care Children’s Hospital offers children a unique opportunity to have a comprehensive assessment performed by a variety of specialists.

Our multidisciplinary approach provides a forum for diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Most children who attend the Missouri Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic are seen on a regular basis, depending on individual needs.

Our expert orthopaedics team will assess your child’s condition. You can expect to meet with a specialist from some or all of the following areas:

Learn about our treatments for skeletal dysplasia:

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The lack of space puts pressure on the spinal cord and its nerves, causing irritation and inflammation. Some children are born with a narrow spinal canal while other may have an injury to their spine that causes spinal stenosis.

At MU Health Care we approach your child’s condition and treatment with understanding and support for you, your child and your family. You can be confident that our team of medical specialists can provide expert diagnosis, treatment and care for your child.

Nonsurgical treatments for spinal stenosis may include:

  • Activity limitations
  • Exercises and stretching to improve flexibility and muscle strength
  • Hot/cold applications
  • Medicines to reduce swelling or relieve pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest
  • Support devices such as a back brace
  • Therapeutic massage

Surgical options, if needed, may include:

  • Decompression laminectomy. This procedure involves back surgery to remove the bone and/or tissue that are causing pressure on the spine.
  • Spinal fusion. This surgery fuses together the painful vertebrae so they heal into a single, solid bone.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects movement and posture. Children with this non-communicable (cannot be passed from person to person) disease have typically sustained a brain injury that prevents them from using some of their muscles in a normal way.

Characteristics of this condition include:

  • Disrupted mobility
  • Impaired sight, hearing or speech
  • Involuntary movement of the limbs
  • Muscle tightness and spasming

Cerebral palsy can be caused by:

  • Lack of oxygen before, during or after birth
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Head trauma resulting from a birth injury

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but our physicians and specialists work with children to help them gain as much physical control of their bodies as possible so they can lead productive lives.

Our team includes with speech, physical and occupational therapists that work together to treat your child. We also have an orthotist available to prepare and adjust wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment while you wait.

Learn about our treatments for cerebral palsy.

Clubfoot

Clubfoot is a congenital (present at birth) condition that affects one or both feet, making it appear as though the foot has been rotated at the ankle. Children with this condition may look like they’re walking on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.

The goal of treatment for clubfoot is to reduce or eliminate all of the components of the deformity so your child has a normally positioned, functional, mobile and painless foot. To achieve that goal, treatment consists of serial (fiberglass) casting, on a weekly basis for six weeks, then surgery and splinting.

In about 90 percent of babies with clubfoot, the Achilles tendon needs to be cut in order to help properly position the foot. This procedure, called a tenotomy, is done before the last casting. The procedure is performed in our outpatient clinic, under a local anesthetic with a thin scalpel blade. Following surgery, you may see a few drops of blood on the plaster. This is normal. The tendon reattaches in two to three weeks as it heals.

Following surgery, please notify your doctor of any of the following:

  • Any increased drainage on the cast
  • Foul smelling odors coming from inside the cast
  • If the skin at the very edge of the cast becomes very red, sore or irritated
  • If your baby runs a fever of 38.5 C/101.3F or higher, without an explainable reason such as cold or a virus

Limb Deformity

Limb deformities, such as bow legs and knock knees, often correct on their own. When these conditions persist or become worse, MU Health Care pediatric orthopaedic surgeons are ready to help.

Treatment for the correction of upper- and lower limb injuries and deformities in children varies from adaptive footwear to surgical limb lengthening

Limb deformity problems include many different conditions, such as:

  • Bow legs
  • Congenital conditions present from birth
  • Contractures
  • Flat foot
  • Infections or tumors of the bone
  • Injuries of the growth center of the bone
  • Knock knees
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Osteogenesis imperfect
  • Syndactyly

Treatment options may include:

  • Orthotics Splints or braces
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Prosthetics Artificial limbs
  • Surgery