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Obesity, low vitamin D behind surge in rare childhood hip joint disorders

IANS Apr 16, 2024

Obesity, low vitamin D levels, and lack of physical activity are increasing rare childhood hip joint disorders among children aged 10-12, said doctors on 15 April calling for early detection and treatment for better outcomes.

Slip Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE) poses a significant threat to children's mobility and quality of life. If left untreated, it can lead to severe limb impairments, and the ability to walk, and ultimately destroy the joint.

However, with timely intervention children can regain mobility and avoid more invasive procedures, said doctors.

"Recognising the signs of limping in adolescents, especially those with obesity and vitamin D deficiency, is crucial. Prompt consultation can prevent the condition from progressing to a stage where extensive surgeries are required," Dr Sanjay Sarup, Director of Paediatric Orthopaedics and Spine Surgery at Artemis Hospitals.

"Prevention is key. Encouraging physical activity, preventing obesity, and addressing nutritional deficiencies can significantly reduce the risk of developing this condition,” he added.

The cost of treatment varies depending on the severity, with small surgeries ranging from Rs 70,000 to Rs 80,000 and more extensive procedures costing between Rs 2 to Rs 2.5 lakh.

The condition can develop in both hips. Comprehensive care and prophylactic surgery on the opposite hip can help.

"SCFE is a very difficult condition to treat. Only those who have sufficient experience and knowledge in its treatment should operate the cases. The complications are many, both in the natural course of the disease as well as during treatment. It's a challenge to ensure that the child has a normal hip at the end of treatment," said Prof P.N. Gupta, Children's Orthopedic specialist at Government Medical College, Chandigarh.

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