My Child has a Limp

  • If your child starts limping, it's usually the sign of a minor injury such as a sprain. However, if they haven’t had an obvious injury, they may need to be seen by a healthcare professional to look for other possible causes.
  • Irritable hip is the common cause of hip pain and limping in a child. It often occurs after a recent viral illness such as a cold, sore throat, or diarrhoea and vomiting and is caused by inflammation of the lining of the joint and fluid inside the joint. Its peak age of onset is 5/6 years.
  • However, irritable hip shares the symptoms of more serious hip conditions, such as septic arthritis (an infection inside the hip) and if your child has a fever, they should be seen urgently by a healthcare professional. 

What should you do?

  • Give your child regular ibuprofen for a few days. You can also give paracetamol to help with the pain.
  • Your child should rest as much as possible until the symptoms have resolved. You can then allow your child to gradually return to their usual activities

How long will will it take for my child to get better?  clock

  • Your child should start getting better within a couple of days.
  • If they are no better within 48 hours, or not back to normal within 7 days, you should arrange for them to be seen by your GP. 

For more information on Limp, click here

When should you worry?

  • If your child develops a temperature above 38.5°C, their pain is no better after 2 days or they are unable to put any weight on their leg, they need to be seen urgently by your GP.
  • If they are no better within 48 hours, or not back to normal within 7 days, you should arrange for them to be seen by your GP.

If your child:

  • Is pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is breathing very fast or going blue around the lips
  • Is lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (see the ‘Glass Test’)

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  • Has a fit, is agitated or confused

They need to be seen urgently – take them straight to A&E or dial 999.

For further information on Sepsis, click here

Where should you seek help?                                  

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