A condition of the hip joint that occurs in teens and pre-teens who are still growing. For reasons not well known, the femoral head slips off the neck of the femur bone in a backwards direction. The result is pain, stiffness and instability of the hip.
Children suffering from slipped capital femoral epiphysis may experience pain and/or develop a limp. The affected leg may also turn outward and appear to be shorter than the other leg.
The cause of slipped capital femoral epiphysis is unknown. However, weakness of the growth plate and excessive weight are believed to be contributing factors. The condition typically occurs over time during periods of accelerated growth but can also occur as a result of trauma.
A physical examination should be conducted to observe any motion abnormalities that may indicate slipped capital femoral epiphysis. An x-ray of the hip would then be ordered to confirm the diagnosis by showing any anatomical differences in the alignment of the hip bone.
Early diagnosis and treatment of slipped capital femoral epiphysis increases the likelihood of successfully stabilizing the hip and preventing the development of more severe hip conditions. Treatment typically consists of surgery to hold the components of the hip in proper position and/or removal of the growth plate to prevent further displacement.