Congenital orthopaedic birth defects happen during foetal development and are caused by abnormal genes from parents, chromosome disorders, exposure to toxins or poisons or radiation, infections contracted during pregnancy like rubella, chicken pox, and pre-existing maternal conditions like diabetes, thyroid, and high blood pressure.
Some common orthopaedic birth defects are:
- Developmental dysplasia (enlargement) of the hip
- Curved foot or incoming
- Spine deformities
- Brittle bone disease and bone infections
- Limb defects or limb under-development
- Other diseases that affect the skeletal muscles
Symptoms would include visible problems with a baby’s feet, arms, and hands; spine twisting or bowing; brittle bones; and reduces movement in infants.
Once the problem is diagnosed, remedies would typically include using braces, physical therapy to improve strength and stability, and even surgery to adjust bones, muscles, and tendons.
Bone disorders, on the other hand, can result from injuries, cancer and infections. Misalignment of bones is observed at times, which is caused by forces exerted on growth plates as the baby grows. Damage to the growth plate distorts the bones, causes pain and long-lasting joint damage.
Bone disorders can sometimes cause painless deformities, and can sometimes be severely painful. Diagnosis is done through scans and X-rays, examinations, and laboratory tests.
Some orthopaedic birth defects heal naturally and do not require treatment, but some lead to complications when left untreated. Difficulty in walking, bone destruction, deformities in bones, muscles, limbs and arthritis are common complications seen in later life.
Treatment for bone disorders varies case to case. In some cases, babies may outgrow bone disorders but in some bracing or surgical interventions may be necessary. By decreasing the irritation caused by misalignment, surgery may prevent the development of arthritis in the joint.
In all cases, joint and bone-related disorders must be immediately brought to the attention of the doctor to avoid any long-lasting impairment. Also, bone disorders can cause inferiority issues and psychological issues in the baby when (s)he grows up. Hence, correcting them at an early stage is highly recommended.