Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE, also known as "Slipped upper femoral epiphysis") is a medical term referring to a fracture through the physis (the growth plate), which results in slippage of the overlying epiphysis. The head of the femur, called the capital, should sit squarely on the femoral neck. Abnormal movement along the growth plate results in the slip.
Often this condition will present in obese adolescent males, especially young black males, and sometimes females, with an insidious onset of thigh or knee pain with a painful limp. Hip motion will be limited, particularly internal rotation.
SCFE (sometimes pronounced "skiffy") is a common cause of hip and knee pain in children ages 7 and 11 caused usually during a growth spurt. It is the most common hip disorder in adolescence. It is the displacement of the upper femoral epiphysis. Slippage occurs through the growth plate (epiphysis between the head and neck of the bone). The femoral epiphysis remains in the acetabulum (hip socket), while the metaphysis (end of the femur) move in an anterior direction with external rotation.
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