Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis in Children

Spondylolisthesis happens when one of the vertebrae in the spine begins to slide forward or backward over the bone below it, typically occurring in the lumbar (lower) spine. In some patients, the condition may place pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. If this occurs, a patient may experience symptoms including numbness in the legs, back pain, or weakness.

And then there is spondylolysis, a defect involving the connection between the vertebrae that make up the spinal column. The defect may result in vertebrae stress fractures or cracks that cause the vertebrae to weaken, potentially slipping out of place, resulting in spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis is especially common in young athletes or children that regularly play sports. While a child that has spondylolysis may also have some degree of spondylolisthesis, that is not necessarily always the case.

Children that have spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis often display physical symptoms such as a backward pelvic tilt or a stiff-legged gait. Depending on the severity,