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20 month old having trouble walking off and on?

By August 25, 2011 - 9:45am
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My son is 20 months old. About 5 months ago his right leg appeared to be giving out on him out of nowhere. i took him to the ER and they took x-rays and examined him and saw nothing out of the ordinary, but said if things continued to go to a orthopedic doctor. Well about a month later he was doing the same thing again taking a few steps and his leg would give out on him. I made him an appointment with thte othopedic doctor and they again took more x-rays examined him and watched him walk (at the time i took him to the doctor he was walking normal again) they came to conclusion that everythign looked fine, but said if things would contiue i would need to take him to a neurologist. (this scares me) I do not understand because his symptoms come and go and there is no pain while this goes on. Last night he started limping and this morning he was still limping. I called his doctor and asked them what i should do and he wants to see him tuesday, but i want to know whats going on now. Does anyone have any ideas of what it may be?

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EmpowHER Guest

My 18 month old son suddenly began having the exact same problem you described 4 days ago. He woke up in the morning and was limping (right leg as well) and then began crawling rather than walking. That is very unusual because he's extremely active and runs all over the place. I checked for splinters, owies, bruise,s anything and he didn't complain at all when i poked and prodded him. He showed no sign of pain other than the limping and his leg giving out. I thought maybe his foot fell asleep or he slept on it funny but after a few hours became very cocernered. I took him to the ER they took xrays and ran bloodwork, everything came out fine. A Dr. said it could be Arthralgia (inflammation in his joints) but from what research I've done that is a sympotm of something else. 4 days later he is doing the same thing off and on. One minute he'll be running and then next he's limping or crawling. I know you submitted this post a long time ago but if you do happen to read this please let me know what you found out.

June 9, 2012 - 7:52pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi again!

Thanks for the update. I looked up this condition and it does make sense - also that boys are 2-4 times more likely to have this than girls.

Is he just going to wait it out or has any kind of physical therapy been ordered?

I hope he feels better soon, poor little guy!


August 30, 2011 - 8:14am
(reply to Susan Cody)

They said if he doesn't get better in a few days to take him to the orthopedic doctor but i looked it up also and it said it could last up to 3 weeks so i don't know what i should do wait and see if it gets better on its own or take him back in

August 30, 2011 - 8:18am
HERWriter Guide (reply to ash_ac_88)

Hi ash,

That's really a decision you have to make, as his mother.

If you feel nothing has improved within a week, then taking him in may be the best thing to do but it takes "up to" 3 weeks to heal so this means it can heal a lot faster. If you see him still in pain by the end of next weekend, put a call in.


August 30, 2011 - 8:29am
HERWriter Guide

Hi ash_ac

Thanks for your post!

Gross motor delay is not uncommon in children (my son walked at 13 months, but my girls at 18 and 19 months after some physical therapy.)

But if your child's leg seems to be giving out and x-rays are not showing anything, then seeing a neurologist is a good idea. There could be any number of reasons why this is happening to him, from an injury you may not be aware of (unlikley, due to the x-rays) or something neurological like muscular dystrophy or a congential or genetic issue.

His doctor will run tests to see if anything in his central nervous system is wrong and the good news is that at 20 months, early detection and intervention will be key. Hopefully any cause/treatment will be simple.

I think it's wonderful you are getting this seen to now, rather than later.

Will you let us know more after the doctors appointment?


August 25, 2011 - 11:02am
(reply to Susan Cody)

i have been researching and i guess i failed to mentin that he has had an ear infection do you think that could cause anything with his walking, i read that sometimes if they have an infection it can cause inflammation in thier joints

August 25, 2011 - 7:06pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to ash_ac_88)

Hi again

Ear infections can affect balance but it should not cause his leg to "give out" like it has been doing although they can cause dizziness/vertigo and loss of balance. Does he have chronic ear infections or was it a once-off thing?

Did the ear infection happen at the same time as his leg giving out? How long have both been going on?


August 26, 2011 - 11:30am
(reply to Susan Cody)

I took him the emergency room last night and they did blood work and x rays and everything came back perfect, the doctor there said what he has is called Transient Synovitis. It all makes sence.

August 29, 2011 - 6:51pm
(reply to Susan Cody)

I took him to the doctor today and his ears have cleared up almost completly and when i talked to the doctor about him limping he says he thinks he probly stepped on something or dropped something on his foot or leg. I dont recall him doing anything but he is a toddler and very clumsy. I'm really hopeing that is the case, he didn't seem to concerned.

August 26, 2011 - 7:20pm
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