Limps and Antalgic Gait in Children: What to look out for and how to treat it

Is your child or toddler limping? Antalgic gait is a type of limping that is caused by pain.

The person affected by antalgic gait will try to minimize the amount of weight

they put on the affected leg in order to avoid pain. This can result in them walking

with a shorter stride and often leads to them favouring the other leg.


Antalgic gait can be a painful and debilitating condition, but there are treatments available that can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

What causes limps and antalgic gait in children?

Causes of antalgic gait include:

  • fractures,

  • dislocations,

  • structural abnormalities

  • developmental issues

  • sprains,

  • strains,

  • inflammation

  • infection

  • osteoarthritis ( in older population)

A full assessment and examination is essential for children with a limp and treatment for limp/antalgic gait depends on the underlying cause.



toddler child playing

Antalgic gait is a particular concern when it comes to children. Limping or an antalgic gait can put extra strain on the child’s undeveloped skeletal system, which can cause pain in joints and muscles and lead to long-term problems.


For all these reasons, it is essential that any child who is showing signs of antalgic gait or is limping is seen by a qualified health professional as soon as possible for a full assessment and examination.

When should I be concerned?

If your child starts limping and they haven’t had an obvious injury, or there appears to be weakness, swelling, or deformity in the affected limb, then it’s important to seek medical

advice.


You should also seek medical advice if your child is in pain or the limp persists for more than a few days.

How is it diagnosed?

At The Myeline Clinic we will ask about their symptoms and take a thorough medical history. We will also carry out a physical examination and assessment.

This will usually be enough to diagnose the cause of the limp. In some cases, further tests may be necessary which could include X-rays, MRI scans, or blood tests.

What is the treatment?

The treatment for limps and antalgic gait depends on the underlying cause.

For functional physical conditions, treatment will focus on relieving pain and improving mobility through gentle manual adjustments, joint mobilisations and soft tissue therapy. At The Myeline Clinic, treatment will also be followed up with stretches and strengthening exercises that can be performed at home.


If the cause is a more serious injury, such as a fracture, then rest and immobilisation of the affected limb may be necessary. Surgery may also be required in some cases.


Diagnosis is crucial to ensuring that the correct treatment is provided. If your child is showing signs of limps or antalgic gait, then it’s important to seek healthcare and advice as soon as possible.

For more information please call us on 1300 038 863 or book an appointment online by clicking here.

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