Orthopedic Birth Defects:


Newborn Birth DefectsOrthopedic birth defects are disorders that damage a baby’s bones and muscles, as well as the tendons and ligaments that connect them. During pregnancy, these issues arise during your baby’s development in the uterus. Although some orthopedic birth problems are self-healing and don’t need to be treated, others, if left untreated, can lead to issues such as:

  • Difficulty walking and running.
  • Bone formation.
  • Deformities in the bones, muscles, and joints of the limbs.
  • Arthritis later in life.

What are the Causes?

When the bone and muscle tissue develop incorrectly in newborns during prenatal development, orthopedic birth defects occur. According to the March of Dimes, the reasons for nearly 60% of birth problems are unknown. Hence, some of the most frequent threat factors include:

  • Genes that have been inherited from a parent are mutated.
  • Chromosomes cause genes to be missing or faulty.
  • Toxins such as alcohol, tobacco smoke, illicit substances, certain medicines, radiation, and some chemicals
  • Severe maternal infections during pregnancy, such as rubella (German measles), chickenpox, and certain viruses
  • Diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure are examples of pre-existing maternal diseases.

Types of Orthopedic Birth Defects

Many forms of birth defects are detected during a baby’s development. Accordingly, the results range in severity from minor to life-threatening, with the following being the most common:


Symptoms of orthopedic birth problems in newborns and children are not always obvious. Thus, the signs and symptoms we should look for include:

  • Visible defects in a baby’s legs, feet, arms, or hands
  • Spine twisting, curvature, or bending
  • Bones that break easily
  • Reduced movement in newborns or difficulty for toddlers to walk

How are Orthopedic Birth Defects Diagnosed?

A pediatrician may recommend one or more of the following tests, depending on the type of orthopedic birth defect your child has:

  • Tests of the blood and urine to see if you have an infection or an enzyme deficiency.
  • Diagnostic imaging to check bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, such as ultrasonography, CT, and MRI scans.
  • X-rays to check for bone defects.
  • Prenatal or postnatal genetic testing to detect anomalies.
  • Muscle or bone biopsies rule out a variety of issues.

Treatments for Orthopedic Birth Defects

Our medical experts will check your child thoroughly in order to determine the best treatment option for the condition. Also, our treatment choices at the Medical City Children’s and Spine Specialists include:

  • Bracing and splinting. This non-surgical treatment uses braces or splints to help align bones and joints. Furthermore, doctors use bracing and splinting to treat a variety of orthopedic birth defects, including clubfoot, hip dysplasia, and scoliosis.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help to improve strength, range of motion, and coordination in children with orthopedic birth defects. In addition, doctors use physical therapy in conjunction with bracing and splinting or as a stand-alone treatment.
  • Surgery. Doctors may use surgery to correct some orthopedic birth defects. Also, the type of surgery that is performed will depend on the specific defect. Additionally, surgery is usually only performed if bracing and splinting or physical therapy are not successful.
  • Medication. In some cases, medication treats pain or inflammation associated with birth defects. However, medication is usually only used in conjunction with other treatments.

Let our team of Doctors and Surgeons at the Medical City Children’s Orthopedics and Spine Specialists with offices in Dallas, Arlington, Frisco, and McKinney, Texas help your child start his or her journey with experts in orthopedic birth defects.  Request an appointment by calling 214-556-0589.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Orthopedic Birth Defects