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Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE): Overview

What is slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE)?

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis, or SCFE, is a disorder of the hip joint. This condition takes place when the ball at the end of the thigh bone slips off the thigh bone at the growth plate. This is caused by a weakness in the growth plate. It is not fully understood why this condition occurs, but it commonly develops after periods of rapid growth after the onset of puberty. Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is the most common hip disorder that occurs in adolescent children.

What causes slipped capital femoral epiphysis?

SCFE is related to adolescent growth spurts. Some children’s growth plates weaken while they are growing and broadening. The broadening of the growth plate (which is not as strong as bone) as well as the shape of the thigh bone and hip socket can lead to a slipped capital femoral epiphysis.

Who gets slipped capital femoral epiphysis?

SCFE is more common in males than in females and typically occurs in children ages 10-16.  Children who are overweight, have hormonal abnormalities, and take steroid medication are at a higher risk for a SCFE.  

Helpful resources:
Pediatric Orthopedics Society of North America

Next: Signs and Symptoms

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