Limping child


These guidelines have been produced to guide clinical decision making for general practitioners (GPs). They are not strict protocols. Clinical common-sense should be applied at all times. These clinical guidelines should never be relied on as a substitute for proper assessment with respect to the particular circumstances of each case and the needs of each patient. Clinicians should also consider the local skill level available and their local area policies before following any guideline.


If suspected sepsis, bone or joint infection or significant trauma please send the child to the nearest Emergency Department immediately.


It is not uncommon to have a child with a limp present either to a primary practice or emergency department. While limps are commonly caused by simple sprains and strains other causes include fractures, infection and rarely malignancies. 

For current guidelines on assessment, management and referral guidelines on the paediatric limp, please visit HealthPathways WA

How to refer

  • Routine non-urgent referrals from a GP or a Consultant are made via the Central Referral Service
  • Routine non-urgent referrals from private hospitals are made via the PCH Referral Office
  • Urgent referrals (less than seven days) are made via the PCH Referral Office. Please call PCH Switch on 6456 2222 to discuss referral with the relevant Orthopaedic registrar.  

Reviewer/Team: Dr Kate Stannage, Orthopaedics Dept, PCH Last reviewed: Sep 2021

Review date: Sep 2024
Endorsed by:

CPAC Date:  Sep 2021

This document can be made available in alternative formats on request for a person with a disability.

Referring service