• If your child starts limping, it’s usually the sign of a minor injury such as a sprain. However, if they haven’t had an obvious injury, they may need to be seen by a healthcare professional to look for other possible causes
  • Irritable hip is the common cause of hip pain and limping in a child. It often occurs after a recent viral illness such as a cold, sore throat, or diarrhoea and vomiting and is caused by inflammation of the lining of the joint and fluid inside the joint. Its peak age of onset is 5/6 years
  • However, irritable hip shares the symptoms of more serious hip conditions, such as septic arthritis (an infection inside the hip) and if your child has a fever, they should be seen urgently by a healthcare professional.

When should you worry?

If your child has any of the following:
  • Is pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is going blue around the lips
  • Becomes extremely agitated, confused or very lethargic (difficult to wake)
  • Has a fit / seizure
  • Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (see the ‘Glass Test’)
  • If you think that your child has broken a bone
You need urgent help

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:
  • Is unable to put any weight on their leg
  • Is no better after 48 hours
  • Develops a fever above 38.5°C
You need to contact a doctor or nurse today

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 – dial 111

We recognise that during the current COVID-19 crisis, at peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, then consider taking them to your nearest Emergency Department

If your child continues to have pain/limp that is slowly improving but he/she is otherwise well

Additional advice is also available to young families for coping with crying of well babies – click here

Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

What should you do?

  • Give your child regular ibuprofen for a few days. You can also give paracetamol as per the instructions on the packaging to help with the pain
  • Your child should rest as much as possible until the symptoms have resolved. You can then allow your child to gradually return to their usual activities

How long will will it take for your child to get better?

  • Your child should start getting better within a couple of days
  • If they are no better within 48 hours, or not back to normal within 7 days, you should arrange for them to be seen by your GP

For more information on Limp, click here

Where should you seek help?

Health Visitors

School Nurses

NHS 111

Accident and Emergency