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Skeletal limb abnormalities

Skeletal limb abnormalities refers to a variety of bone structure problems in the arms or legs (limbs).

Considerations

The term skeletal limb abnormalities is most often used to describe defects in the legs or arms that are due to a problem with genes or chromosomes, or that occur due to an event that happens during pregnancy.

The abnormalities are often present at birth.

Limb abnormalities can develop after birth if a person has rickets or other diseases that affect bone structure.

Causes

Skeletal limb abnormalities may be due to any of the following:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have any concerns about limb length or appearance.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

An infant with limb abnormalities generally has other symptoms and signs that, when taken together, define a specific syndrome or condition or give a clue as to the cause of the abnormality. Diagnosis is based on a family history, medical history, and thorough physical evaluation.

Medical history questions may include:

Other tests such as chromosome studies, enzyme assays, x-rays, and metabolic studies may be done.

Related Information

Rickets

References

Deeney VF, Arnold J. Orthopedics. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 22.

Herring JA. Skeletal dysplasias. In: Herring JA, ed. Tachdjian's Pediatric Orthopaedics. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 36.

McCandless SE, Kripps KA. Genetics, inborn errors of metabolism, and newborn screening. In: Fanaroff AA, Fanaroff JM, eds. Klaus and Fanaroff's Care of the High Risk Neonate. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 6.

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Review Date: 10/2/2020  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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