Symptoms and Treatments
What are the symptoms of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis?
Symptoms of SCFE typically include pain in the hip that is aggravated by activity. Sometimes the adolescent will also experience pain in the groin, thigh or knee area.
In acute slips, the adolescent will complain of immediate pain, limp or feel like the "leg is giving way."
The adolescent with a chronic slip usually walks with a limp, complains of hip pain and reports that rest alleviates the pain. The adolescent may walk with his leg turned outward and may also have a click in the hip.
The symptoms of SCFE may resemble other conditions or medical problems of the hip. Always consult your adolescent's physician for a diagnosis.
How is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for SCFE may include:
- X-ray--A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film.
- Bone scans--A nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)--A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
- Blood tests
The ultimate goal in SCFE is to diagnose the condition early in order to prevent the head of the femur from slipping further off of the thigh bone, thus preventing hip deformity. When the diagnosis of SCFE is made, the adolescent is not allowed to bear weight on the hip. Crutches or a wheelchair may be used.
Treatment of Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Your adolescent's doctor will determine the specific treatment for SCFE based on:
- Your adolescent's age, overall health and medical history
- The extent of the condition
- Your adolescent's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
The goal of treatment is to prevent the femoral head from further slippage. Treatment usually may include:
- Surgery (involving the use of a steel pin to hold the femoral head onto the femur to prevent further slipping)
- Physical therapy (following surgery, to help strengthen the hip and leg muscles)