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Review for the generalist: evaluation of pediatric hip pain

Kristin M Houghton

Author Affiliations

K4-123 ACB BC Children's Hospital, 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver V6H 3V4, Canada

Pediatric Rheumatology 2009, 7:10  doi:10.1186/1546-0096-7-10

Published: 18 May 2009


Hip pathology may cause groin pain, referred thigh or knee pain, refusal to bear weight or altered gait in the absence of pain. A young child with an irritable hip poses a diagnostic challenge. Transient synovitis, one of the most common causes of hip pain in children, must be differentiated from septic arthritis. Hip pain may be caused by conditions unique to the growing pediatric skeleton including Perthes disease, slipped capital femoral epiphysis and apophyseal avulsion fractures of the pelvis. Hip pain may also be referred from low back or pelvic pathology. Evaluation and management requires a thorough history and physical exam, and understanding of the pediatric skeleton. This article will review common causes of hip and pelvic musculoskeletal pain in the pediatric population.