Orthopedic conditions affect muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

Behaviors that may communicate about orthopedic conditions:

  • Dislikes transfers (from bed to wheelchair, for example)
  • Grimaces, cries, gets upset when moving about or during transfers
  • Behavior problems when moving about or being moved
  • Moves stiffly upon getting out of bed or chair; loosens up within 30 minutes or as the day goes on
  • Behavior problems or discomfort when in certain positions, such as sitting in chair or lying in bed.
  • Lack of energy
  • Stops participating in previously enjoyed activities

Other factors that may indicate the presence of an orthopedic condition:

  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Intermittent or steady pain in joints that gets worse with activity
  • Pain with range of motion
  • Swelling or redness of joints
  • Scraping or crunching sound when joints move
  • Can't move joints comfortably (limited range of motion)
  • Stiffness, limping, loss of ability to walk
  • New lump on or swelling along bone
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Down syndrome (often linked with early osteoarthritis)

Do you think someone's behavior may be telling you about an orthopedic condition? Talk with your doctor or other health care provider. They can work with you to learn whether this is the case.