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ask: Toddler limping and knee or ankle "giving out" without pain, redness or swelling. What could it be?

By Free2Bme
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My friend's 2 year old was playing on some slippery surface (a "sprinkler park"), and fell. She was not concerned (2 year olds fall all the time, and he had no visible scratches) at first, but when he would try to walk, his knee (or hip or ankle?) would kind of "buckle" underneath him. He is not in any pain; no reddness or swelling either. He is jumping and squatting, but walking strangely. The most noticeable was an hour later: he went to kick a ball with his right leg, while standing on his left leg...and his left leg just "gave out". We can't notice any deformities or anything.

We called the nurse-on-call after-hours (it's a Sunday), and were told to do the "wait and see". Give him ibuprofen if it swells. He is eating and sleeping fine. If he still has trouble tomorrow morning, my friend will take him to the doctor.

Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Nurse said if strain, sprain or dislocation, there would be pain and he would not voluntarily move the injured leg. He is not doing this for attention, so can rule that out, too. What injury could this be, without pain?

Add a Comment58 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I had the same with my 2 year old few days ago She wasn't complaining but it really scared me Doctor diagnosed 'irritable hip' You can find more info online It is caused by previous viral infection or a fall or injury In our case it was jumping (falling) on trampoline I was giving her ibuprofen as doctor said She was better the next day But always check with your doctor

December 9, 2014 - 4:45pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi All,

3days before i.e. on 31st Aug 2014 my son started limping and we were not sure of any reason. The nearest probable reason is because of excessive physical activity this can happen or any known/unknown injury (which doctor also confirmed). Initially I was terrified as I was wondering why there is no pain and all crazy thoughts popup in my mind. We took him to doctor and he diagnosed all the joints and confirmed there is no fracture/dislocation of bones. This result gave us some relief. Later he gave Ibuprofen Junior (Syrup) and asked us to use it three times a day after food for TWO days. After two days the limping disappeared. We were told that it is due to a mild sprain in the ankle. Just sharing my experience with the result so that any new person don't get panic in this situation.


September 1, 2014 - 8:46pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hi...thanks for sharing your experience....because i have been facing the same situation with my 3 years old daughter ..who started limping from last 3 days and ...there is no pain...or ankle disloacation type of a thing...r swelling...every one told there experiences but you are the only one who told results ...i hope it will work with us ...as well...thanks

September 7, 2014 - 5:22am
EmpowHER Guest

Glad for level headed advice. My son had his leg give out tonight.

August 31, 2014 - 6:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

my child is 11 years old in last year her knee popped out of place twice and this year it has popped out of place one time she complains it hurt almost everyday and i know she's not trying to get attention because she can't really bend her knees for a long time or squat for a long time what's wrong. ?

June 24, 2014 - 10:23am
EmpowHER Guest

When my daughter was a toddler she had fallen off of a kitchen chair. Shortly after she was limping. She had no swelling or bruising and no pain. I called the pediatrician a couple of days later and was told to go ahead to the ER.. They did x-rays and found that she had the beginning stages of Legg-Calve'-Perthes Disease.. It is not life threatening, but some kids need surgery to correct it.

February 21, 2014 - 4:51pm
Jessica Johanning

My daughter is two yrs old on sept 25 2013 she went into the hospital for a replacement surgery walking normal when she left the hospital she could barely walk she doesn't really bare no weight on her right leg her feet turn I her hand are above her head for balance her back arches and her right leg bows out she can't run no more she cant go play outside shes seen neurologist they ran MRIs on her brain and spine but said everything is normal so they put her into physical therapy but now the physical therapist said she's doesnt need physical therapy obviously no one knows whats wrong with her we need help badly

February 18, 2014 - 1:25am
EmpowHER Guest

I have a 2yr daughter she went into the hospital sept.25th 2013 walking normally before her replacement surgery now after the surgery she can barely walk for 5 mins she arches her back doesnt put a lot of weight on her right leg her feet curve in and her right leg bows out shes in physical therapy but the therapist doesn't know what it is but says she doesn't need physical therapy that its more serious but she's had MRIs done on her brain and spine they said there's nothing there and doesn't have a clue what it is we need help finding out what's wrong

February 18, 2014 - 1:08am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi my daughter is also in similar situation, her knee gives out.she
4 1/2 years old. She goes for physical therapy twice a week and if she is not wearing braces her knee gives out and she feel a lot of pain and she cries.

January 4, 2014 - 7:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

i pulled my 2yr, 3month year old son out from behind the sofa, and his foot was wedged between the window sill and the sofa. When i put him on the floor, he showed the same behaviour. I can bend his knee and any way i wish, he can crawl, roll around on a bed and doesn't feel any paid. There are no marks or swelling. He also laughingly tells us his 'knee broken'. However when he tried to walk, his injured knee buckles, but because it's hurting him. He only complains a little and falls deliberately falls to the floor and plays without complaint.
After reading the posts, i think he will get better by tomorrow and it will be ok. Since i caused his injury, i'm sure it isn't any sort of condition. It's a father inflicted injury. Toddlers are hugely robust and i'm confident it'll pass.
Thanks for all the posts
A slightly guilty father

February 2, 2013 - 8:34am
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