“Limb” is another name for the arms or legs. Sometimes a child can have a difference in the way their arms or legs are shaped. For example, their legs may be curved or one might be shorter than the other. Or, a bone in the arm may be short or missing. At Nemours, our pediatric orthopedic surgeons are experts at diagnosing and treating limb and bone length differences. We’ll recommend the best treatment for your child and help you understand what to expect every step of the way.
Help for Kids With Differently Shaped Limbs
Limb Differences We Treat
Some children are born with a limb difference and others develop it when they’re older. A limb length discrepancy is when one arm or leg is longer than the other. A small difference in length might not be noticeable at all. A bigger difference, especially in a leg, can cause problems such as a limp, pain or early arthritis. Some common types of limb problems include:
- Blount disease (a growth disorder that affects the shin bone)
- bowlegs (when the knees bow out)
- congenital short femur (when a child is born with a short femur — the bone between the hip and knee)
- fibular hemimelia (when there’s a missing part of the fibula — the outer bone between the knee and ankle)
- hemihyperplasia (when one side of the body is larger than the other)
- infection that damages growth plates (the areas of active, new bone growth near the ends of bones)
- knock knees (when the knees bend in)
- neurofibromatosis (a condition that causes tumors to grow on the nerves)
- trauma (bone fractures)
Services We Offer for Kids With Limb Differences
To diagnose and treat limb length problems, we use a team approach that combines the expertise of our pediatric orthopedic surgeons, radiologists, physical and occupational therapists, and orthotists (who fit braces or splints). We also work with specialists from genetics, physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) and Child Life to provide a range of services — all under one roof.
Our limb differences treatment and support services may vary depending on the location and your child’s condition. But we offer both surgical limb reconstruction and nonsurgical treatments such as:
- epiphysiodesis (surgery to slow the growth of the longer leg)
- exercise programs tailored to kids’ specific needs
- limb lengthening, shortening and correction
- shoe lifts and bracing
Why Choose Us for Limb Differences Care
Our orthopedic teams have many years of experience delivering limb differences and limb lengthening care. We’ll provide a customized approach for your child — not just a standard, one-size-fits-all solution. If your child needs surgery, we use state-of-the-art equipment and minimally invasive techniques, whenever possible, to help kids home faster. To help us give kids the best possible care, we’re actively involved in orthopedic research. And, year after year, many on our team are recognized as Best Doctors in America.®
Regional Limb Differences Highlights
Services, programs and care teams differ at each location. Call for details.
We offer complete limb differences care at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington, Del.).
- regularly ranked among the nation’s top 10 children’s hospitals for pediatric orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report
- large, experienced team — with more than 40,000 visits every year
- advanced diagnostic services, including fetal diagnostic testing and perinatal consultations while your baby is still in the womb
- on-site brace fitting, orthotic and prosthetic shops
- pediatric outpatient therapy services program that’s one of the only in the region accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
- physical medicine and rehabilitation services
- certified hand, occupational, physical and speech/language therapists
- Ronald McDonald House of Delaware , right across from our hospital’s campus, for a home away from away during long hospital stays
We offer complete limb differences care at Nemours Children’s Hospital (Orlando) and satellite Nemours Children’s Specialty Care locations.
- limb deformity center, offering surgical treatments for the correction of upper- and lower-limb deformities and injuries
- advanced radiology (imaging) services including fetal diagnostics
- state-of-the-art, on-site orthotic and prosthetic shops
- physical medicine and rehabilitation services and therapies, including physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Ronald McDonald House at Nemours Children’s Hospital on campus, for an affordable home away from home during long hospital stays
We offer limb differences care at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Jacksonville (working with Wolfson Children’s Hospital) and satellite locations.
- specialized expertise in limb length discrepancies
- state-of-the-art imaging services
- on-site orthotic and prosthetic shops
- close academic and clinical affiliations with with the University of Florida College of Medicine–Jacksonville and Mayo Clinic Florida