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Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)


This is a problem with the head of the femur ingrowing children. With this condition, the ball-like head slips out of place in the hip socket. It moves down and back. This slip happens at the femur’s neck, along a growth plate. That’s where new bone develops. Growth plates are weaker than the surrounding bone.


Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE)

Causes & Triggers

We aren’t sure what causes this condition. It affects pre-teens and teens who haven’t finished growing. It can happen over time. It can also happen after a fall or other injury. It’s most common in boys. Being very overweight raises your risk. So does a family history. And, it’s more common in people who have an endocrine disorder or a metabolic disorder. Some people who develop this in one hip go on to develop it in the other.

  • Unknown, however, contributing factors may include:
    • Genetics/heredity
    • Growth plate weakness
    • Minor fall or trauma
    • Being overweight

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms depend on how bad the slip is. You may feel pain in your groin, hip, thigh and knee. It hurts more when you are active. You may limp. If your slip is severe, you may not be able to bear any weight on your hip. Your affected leg may look shorter than the healthy one, and it may turn outward.

  • Inability to fully rotate hip inward
  • Intermittent limp
  • Looks as if affect leg is shorter
  • Outward turning appearance
  • Pain (hip, knee)
  • Unable to bear weight

Tips & Treatment

This condition is treated with surgery. The ball is stabilized with one or more screws. Your surgeon may recommend treating both hips if the other side is at risk too.

  • This condition requires immediate surgical treatment to prevent continued slippage.

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