Let’s talk about deck screws.

It all started when my son began limping.

We thought he pulled something during a spectacular football tackle, but when it became clear the pain wasn’t going away, we decided a visit to the pediatrician would be a good idea. X-rays were inconclusive, so we were referred to an orthopedic specialist.

My son left the specialist’s office in a wheelchair, with strict instructions not to put ANY weight on his legs. Turns out, his pulled muscle was actually a slipped capital femoral epiphysis (or “skiffy” to those of us who need a shortcut word). No weight, absolutely no activity because it could cause the head of the femur to slip further and cause irreparable damage. 

Surgery was textbook. Two screws and five days later, my son was back at school, rolling through the halls in a rented wheelchair. 

Once he was released to crutches, his therapists showed him how to navigate stairs and ramps. They taught him proper technique so that he wouldn’t end up with sore shoulders or an aching back. 

Here’s the important part, though: They helped him regain confidence in his body, despite having permanent screws in both hips. Mobility exercises proved that his joints still worked. Balance exercises reminded him that he no longer had to favor his left leg and that he could trust a normal walk and posture. 

PT was absolutely critical for my son’s full recovery – both physical and psychological.

I do believe it helped him avoid the long-term pain that would have resulted from his imagined lack of strength and range of motion. 

I don’t remember the therapists’ names, but I do remember their patience and cheerful encouragement. I am so grateful to have had them as my son’s rehab coaches. 


P.S. This is an image taken during the surgery that stabilized the SCFE. My fix-it aunt joked that, if she had known she could use construction tools, she would have gone to med school.

slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE, "skiffy")

It’s National PT Month! This year, the APTA is focused on raising awareness of physical therapy as an effective treatment option for chronic pain conditions.
Cedaron would like to thank the PT community for keeping all of us moving in the safest, strongest, most independent way possible.