Investigating a child with a limp requires careful consideration because the differential diagnoses are broad. The condition is rarely an emergency but it can be serious and debilitating.
- History, examination and simple laboratory tests can identify most serious causes of limp in children.
- The presence of acute pain, raised inflammatory markers, fever and nonweightbearing makes septic arthritis the most likely diagnosis.
- It is important to remember that muscle weakness and malignancy can be causes of limp.
- Referred pain may be present and the pathology may not be at the site of the pain.