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Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis in Children: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a hip problem. The ball-shaped upper end of the thigh bone (femur) slips at the area where the bone is growing. When this happens, the femur does not fit right in the hip socket.

This happens most often in teens during a growth spurt. This is a rapid increase in height. Rapid weight gain or an injury also can cause it. Your child may have hip or knee pain or may walk with a limp.

Your child will need surgery. The doctor will put a screw in the bone. This holds the bone in place and lets it heal. If not fixed, this problem can lead to early arthritis of the hip or worse problems.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it to your child as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, give your child an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give ibuprofen to a child who is younger than 6 months. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
    • Do not give two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • Follow your doctor's directions for activity.
  • Have your child use crutches as your doctor directs.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child's pain gets worse.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.