4 Ways That Childhood Obesity Can Affect Bone

Childhood obesity can cause a host of children’s orthopedic issues in children with effects that last throughout their lives. Because of the interaction between gravity and bones, carrying excess weight can put particular strain on the bones of a child.

Bone Plate Growth

The bones of children are particularly affected by obesity because of the presence of growth plates. Growth plates are areas of developing cartilage tissue located at the ends of longer bones in the body, such as the arms or legs. These plates are responsible for the longitudinal growth of the bone.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

Obesity can make a child more likely to develop a slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) by increasing the force and pressure placed on their thigh bones. This condition is related to bone plate growth and happens when the growing end of the thigh bone slips off the top of the bone. It typically requires surgery to stabilize the thigh bone’s head.

Bone plate growth can be damaged or deformed by excess body weight.

Blount’s Disease

Blount’s Disease is a common condition among obese children. It results in a bowing of the legs due to abnormal bone plate growth caused by weight. A leg brace may correct the problem, but in some cases children’s orthopedic surgery is required to correct the condition.

Foot & Leg Pain

Reports of increased general pain symptoms in obese children compared to normal weight children are common. Additionally, flat feet is a condition that is more common and harder to treat in obese children.

Fracture Complications

Obese children are at greater risk for broken bones, and treatment may be complicated if the child’s weight prevents the equipment used to treat their fracture from being used correctly. Children who experience limited mobility due to their weight may also find using their cast and crutches difficult.