What to Do if Your Child Is Limping

Lameness in children may be caused by different things, ranging from the simplest to those that involve serious complications. Discover what to do if your child is limping here.
What to Do if Your Child Is Limping

Last update: 24 December, 2019

Some children walk irregularly, try to avoid fully supporting their feet on the ground, or even only use the tip of their feet as support while they bend their knee. Since children aren’t always fully aware of what’s happening, it’s up to parents to pay close attention and realize that their child is limping.


When you see that your child misses a step, the first thing you should do is check their shoes because they could have a stone stuck in the soles or maybe their shoes aren’t comfortable. Regarding the latter, this may lead to blisters in the foot’s sole and posterior part of the heel.

Due to how fast it happens, growth in children can sometimes go unnoticed. However, constant feet size changes can make them outgrow their footwear very often.

Constantly monitoring the size of your child’s shoes should become a common habit in your everyday role as a parent. Using a smaller shoe size could affect their way of walking and can eventually lead children to choose limping as a way to cope with their discomfort.

When you buy footwear for your children, you must make sure they aren’t too tight and that they’re ergonomic. In other words, they should be suitable for their body and comfortable for walking.

It’s important for comfort and ergonomics to prevail as essential parameters when it comes to choosing shoes. In this sense, you should never put fashion first.

What to Do if Your Child Is Limping

Fractures or sprains

In general, children are constantly exploring. They’re in the process of discovering everything around them. As a consequence, they never question the dangers that this entails. Usually, they climb and run all over the place and, the more difficult a place is for them, the more adventurous and fun they’ll consider it.

However, fun can turn into an unpleasant experience. This is because they’ll always be exposed to falling or hitting themselves, suffering sprains and, in the worst cases, fractures. Even when the injury isn’t serious, it could also make the child limp due to discomfort or pain.

One of the most common accidents related to physical activities is tibia fractures. Regularly, young children don’t realize what happened to them. In this regard, this fracture can result from a bad jump, when they run, or when they get on a slide. This injury could make you notice that your child is limping.

My child limps from a very early age

If you notice that your baby limps while they’re learning to walk, they could be suffering from a neurological problem. When your child has this difficulty at an early age, you need to take them to a specialist as soon as possible to get the necessary analyses and determine the causes.

This is because the longer you take to act, the harder it’ll be to correct the problem.

Why your child is limping if there’s no visible leg damage

The answer could be that they’re suffering from one of these conditions that aren’t easy to detect:

  • Hip injury or inflammation.
  • Abnormal hip development (hip dysplasia).
  • A fracture that occurred during childhood.
  • Joint infection.
  • Leg length discrepancy.

If your child is born with any of these ailments, such as a dislocated hip or leg length discrepancy, they may go unnoticed when they begin to walk. However, their lameness will become more apparent as they develop.

What steps should I take if my child is limping?

When you examine your child and determine that the cause of their lameness is a minor injury, you can breathe a sigh of relief, as you can address the problem at home. An example of this are cuts or scratches on their feet, as they can be easily treated with a first aid kit.

What to Do if Your Child Is Limping

But if you can’t determine the reason for their lameness and it lasts more than 24 hours, it’s imperative that you take your child to a medical consultation. If necessary, the doctor will indicate X-rays or other tests they deem appropriate for diagnosis and treatment.

Remember that only their pediatrician will be able to examine them and ensure it isn’t a major problem. If it is, they’ll be responsible for taking the necessary measures to control and prevent the condition from worsening and complicating over time.

Don’t forget that, the faster you act, the easier it’ll be to address this problem in your child.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.