Scfe Help Needed

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I just wanted to ask someone who may have more experience with SCFE.

My son an avid sports player, started complaining of groin pain last summer, we thought it was a strain so didn't worry too much.  This has continued and in November he went to GP and got a referral.  The pain is on exertion, kicking the ball, climbing stairs etc.  He says its like a stabbing pain, its now in his left hip as well, he points to deep inside where I think the femur is located.

4 xrays have come up clear and he is on 8 weeks rest from now, the consultant said they cant completely exclude Sufe as it could be in early stages.  He wants to see if the pain stops with rest (ie repetitive injury)

My question is if it was a preslip how long can it go on for before it actually starts slipping and would it have not progressed even a little by now if it started last summer?

Keep worrying about this as he is so unhappy missing sports and everything is so vague.  He has less movement in his right hip than his left but again we are told this could be normal for him.

Very grateful for any experiences or advice.


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8 Replies

  • Posted

    I should have said he is 12, 13 in May and not overweight but very solid and tall for his age
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  • Posted

    Hi There

    A pre-slip can go on for a long time.  He should be referred to a Paediatric Orthopaedic Consultant, and his X-ray should be FROG LEG LATERAL!! - so that they can see if there is any 'widening' of the epiphysis.  I don't know where you are in the country, but my son was taken into North Staffs, and they were excellent - fortunately one of the best consultants in the country was there - but it was too late for us as my son ended up with a full blown SUFE and after 18 months is still in a wheelchair/crutches!!  

    My son also had groin pain in the latter stages, and it is very unusual for children to get groin pain.  My son also had stabbing pains, and it was every time he put his leg down that the stabbing pains were down the thigh and towards the knee - but the pain was not very localised.  My son had no pain in the water (as there is no weight on the leg), so try him out in the local swimming pool to see if he experiences any pain whilst swimming.

    If it is in the early stages, then they should pin it before an acute slip occurs and the rot then sets in!

    In my son's case, he tripped a couple of times, and this 'jarred' the hip/epiphysis and hastened the SUFE to become acute very quickly.  This is why if a SUFE is suspected, it should be referred immediately to A&E, and the child ordered not to walk on it, in case the person trips over.  Sorry don't want to scare you, but we have been through hell and I wouldn't want any child or family to go through this.

    The child can be very tall and slim, or they can be slightly overweight.

    If you want to chat, my details (should) still be with the charity called STEPS - for lower limb disorders and I have said that they can give my details out, or leave yours and I can call you back!!


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    • Posted


      I am so sorry to hear about your son, that must be extremely soul destroying for all concerned, I can imagine you are traumatised, I hope things improve for you all.  Its stories like yours that make me wonder about my son.

      Thank you so much for replying, I did go over to steps but couldn't find your post.

      He has had frog leg xrays and they are clear to date (Consultant said they are clear), Im just curious as to why when I asked consultant if its completely ruled out he wouldn't commit. We are in the South East.

      My son is adament it won't get better with rest, but as I said to him its better that than take any chances.

      The consultant said rest for 2 mths and come back in 4mths, then he said no come back in 2 months, following on from that at the same appointment he said if it still hurts after 1 month of rest come back, so you can see why I think its all very vague or maybe he is being cautious, I just don't know.

      What is the prognosis for your son, is he getting better now?

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    • Posted


      I am not on the forum at STEPS (I'm not usually into Forums, just on this one as it was the only place I could find other people's experiences of SUFE!), but have given STEPS a call and told them that my number can be given out as a contact for SUFE enquiries, 

      My son is getting better thank you, and his hip is more like a child who has had Perthes disease than a SUFE, which is good - if you have ever seen any pictures of a collapsed femoral head with Avascular Necrosis you will see that it is not good news - only salvagable by a hip replacement and of course at 12 he is just too young.

      Was it a Paediatric Orthopaedic Consultant that you saw or just an A&E consultant?  It needs to be a specialist orthopaedic (in children), quite often these can be missed on X-rays unless they are seen by a specialist.  Do let me know, and I know you cannot give the name of the hospital on this forum, but maybe the town or area.  Take a look at the North Staffs hospital and then look at their consultant's profiles to see if they are more specialist in SUFE than the consultant you have seen.

      Do let me know.


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  • Posted

    I have just noticed that you have said he has less movement in his right hip than left hip - is that right?  

    Also, does he have the stabbing pains when he puts weight on the leg (ie tries to walk)?  

    Does he have any shooting pains from the hip down towards the knee when he puts weight on his right leg?

    Does the leg rotate outwards when he walks/puts weight on it? (like a frog, with the foot turning out when he walks),

    Is he limping on the leg when he tries to walk?

    Does he struggle to turn the foot/leg of his right leg inwards so that both feet meet?

    Sorry for all the questions. 

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    • Posted


      thank you for taking the time to write

      Yes the consultant said he has less movement in his right hip but its not a huge amount currently and he said that could be normal for our family

      He was a Peadatric Orthopedic specialist.

      I dont think his leg rotates out much and he can move his toes inward.  When it first started my husband said he complained of knee pain and was limping on the football pitch, this went off and he only has deep pain in his hip area, it was just in his right, but now his left as well although the left isnt as painful.

      He says the pain is there all the time unless resting, but the main cause of pain is running, kicking (particularly painful) and he feels he has lost stregth to kick a ball, climbing the stairs, he said he cant sit crossed legged as it hurts too much, he cant sit with one leg over the other (ie with the knee pointing outwards and ankle on the other knee) he says that hurts like hell.  It seems to be only on extreme movement that the pain is bad.

      He doesn't limp, unless its bad during football or pe at School.

      I do notice his right foot always seems more turned out when he is sitting than his left, but that could be normal for him.

      Sorry its all a bit vague.  The doctor and consultant were both looking for SUFE, but with the xray being clear they want to try rest to see if it improves, I guess it could be a repetitive injury, but I feel a bit left hanging and don't understand why they won't rule sufe out completely at this stage, unless they are just covering themselves as I read many hospitals have been sued for misdiagnoses.

      He did say its not a pain he has experienced before and he doesn;t know how to describe it. 

      Hope I haven't waffled on :-)

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  • Posted

    How baffling.

    Does it hurt less when sitting if he lets his leg just flop outwards and not force his right leg so the knees are together and the hip rotated inwards?  with a SUFE the natural reaction is usually to rotate the leg outwards (I think).

    Have you tried swimming to see if when he is exhurting muscle power in the water if he is still in pain, or if he feels free from pain in the water (ie when he is not weight bearing but still using his muscles)?  I only ask, as whilst my son had his undiagnosed SUFE the only time he was pain free whilst kicking his legs was in the swimming pool.

    Do get in touch with STEPS and ask for my details, it may be easier to chat over the phone!


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    • Posted

      Yes I think it would be easier :-)  Ive contacted steps and they have all my details.

      He said it hurts both ways rotating inwards and outwards, we havent been swimming lately but will definitely try that one

      Thanks for all your help x

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