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

When should you worry?

If your child has any of the following:

  • Is pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is going blue around the lips
  • Becomes extremely agitated, confused or very lethargic (difficult to wake)
  • Has a fit / seizure
  • Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (see the ‘Glass Test’)
  • If you think that your child has broken a bone

You need urgent help

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:

  • Is unable to put any weight on their leg
  • Is no better after 48 hours
  • Develops a fever above 38.5°C

You need to contact a doctor or nurse today

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111

We recognise that during the current COVID-19 crisis, at peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, then consider taking them to your nearest ED

If your child continues to have pain/limp that is slowly improving but he/she is otherwise well

Additional advice is also available to young families for coping with crying of well babies – click here

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

This guidance has been reviewed and adapted by healthcare professionals across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw with consent from the Hampshire development groups.

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 your child to get better?

  • 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

Where should you seek help?

Health visitors are nurses or midwives who are passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing illness through the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme. They work with you through your pregnancy up until your child is ready to start school.

Health Visitors can also make referrals for you to other health professionals for example hearing or vision concerns or to the Community Paediatricians or to the child and adolescent mental health services.

Contact them by phoning your Health Visitor Team or local Children’s Centre.

Sound advice

Health visitors also provide advice, support and guidance in caring for your child, including:

  • Breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating
  • Exercise, hygiene and safety
  • Your child’s growth and development
  • Emotional health and wellbeing, including postnatal depression
  • Safety in the home
  • Stopping smoking
  • Contraception and sexual health
  • Sleep and behaviour management (including temper tantrums!)
  • Toilet training
  • Minor illnesses

For more information watch the video: What does a health visitor do?

School nurses care for children and young people, aged 5-19, and their families, to ensure their health needs are supported within their school and community. They work closely with education staff and other agencies to support parents, carers and the children and young people, with physical and/or emotional health needs.

Contacting the School Nurse

Primary and secondary schools have an allocated school nurse – telephone your child’s school to ask for the contact details of your named school nurse.

There is also a specialist nurse who works with families who choose to educate their children at home.

Sound Advice

Before your child starts school your health visitor will meet with the school nursing team to transfer their care to the school nursing service. The school nursing team consists of a school nursing lead, specialist public health practitioners and school health staff nurses.

They all have a role in preventing disease and promoting health and wellbeing, by:-

  • encouraging healthier lifestyles
  • offering immunisations
  • giving information, advice and support to children, young people and their families
  • supporting children with complex health needs

Each member of the team has links with many other professionals who also work with children including community paediatricians, child and adolescent mental health teams, health visitors and speech and language therapists. The school health nursing service also forms part of the multi-agency services for children, young people and families where there are child protection or safeguarding issues.

If you’re not sure which NHS service you need, call 111. An adviser will ask you questions to assess your symptoms and then give you the advice you need, or direct you straightaway to the best service for you in your area.

Sound advice

Use NHS 111 if you are unsure what to do next, have any questions about a condition or treatment or require information about local health services.

For information on common childhood illnesses go to What is wrong with my child?

A&E departments provide vital care for life-threatening emergencies, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attacks, breathing difficulties, or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped. If you’re not sure it’s an emergency, call 111 for advice.

Sound advice

  1. Many visits to A&E and calls to 999 could be resolved by any other NHS services.
  2. If your child's condition is not critical, choose another service to get them the best possible treatment.
  3. Help your child to understand – watch this video with them about going to A&E or riding in an ambulance
Survey for parents/carers - what was the outcome of you looking at this page?

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