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From Nemours' KidsHealth
- A to Z: Kyphosis, Congenital
- A to Z: Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
- A to Z: Kyphosis
- Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip
- Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains
- When Your Child Needs a Cast
- Frequently Asked Questions About Casts
- Cerebral Palsy
- Should I Worry About the Way My Son Walks?
- Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Limited Mobility Special Needs Factsheet
- In-toeing & Out-toeing in Toddlers
- A to Z: Fracture, Fibula
- A to Z: Fracture, Radius
- A to Z: Fracture, Clavicle
- A to Z: Fracture, Distal Radius and Ulna
- A to Z: Fracture, Elbow
- A to Z: Scoliosis
- X-Ray Exam: Ankle
- X-Ray Exam: Hand
- X-Ray Exam: Wrist
- X-Ray Exam: Forearm
- X-Ray Exam: Hip
- X-Ray Exam: Humerus (Upper Arm)
- X-Ray Exam: Foot
- X-Ray Exam: Elbow
- X-Ray Exam: Scoliosis
- Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)
- Growth Plate Injuries
- Preparing Your Child for Anesthesia
- Spina Bifida
- Broken Bones
- Bones, Muscles, and Joints
- A to Z: Abnormality of Gait (Gait Abnormality)
- Blount Disease
- A to Z: Clubfoot
- Physical Therapy
- A to Z: Genu Varum
- Preparing Your Child for Surgery
- X-Ray Exam: Femur (Upper Leg)
- X-Ray Exam: Leg Length
A to Z: Scoliosis
A to Z: Scoliosis
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature in the spine, often in the shape of a "C" or "S."
More to Know
Signs of scoliosis usually appear between the ages of 10 and 14, just before the onset of puberty.
Someone with too much spinal curvature will usually have uneven hips or shoulders (one side is higher than the other) or one shoulder blade that sticks out farther than the other.
Usually, the cause of scoliosis is unknown and occurs in otherwise healthy kids and adolescents. But it also can affect those with conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Scoliosis tends to run in families, and girls are much more likely to develop severe cases.
Most of the time, scoliosis is mild enough that it doesn't interfere with everyday life and can be left untreated. In some cases, doctors will have someone with scoliosis wear a back brace.
If the curve gets severe, it can be visible and cause discomfort. It can also lead to other health problems, possibly affecting the lungs, heart, and joints. In these instances, surgery can correct the problem.
Keep in Mind
Most cases of scoliosis don't require treatment, but even when they do, kids and teens usually can resume an active life after treatment.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: August 11, 2016