The clinical and radiological features of 38 children with osteoid osteomas were analysed retrospectively. Twenty nine patients had lesions of the femur (n = 17) or tibia (n = 12). The mean duration from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 13.8 months. In seven patients the history of pain and abnormalities on examination suggested a possible neurological disorder. Fourteen of 29 patients (48%) with femoral or tibial osteomas had localised muscle atrophy, and 10 patients (34%) had diminished or absent deep tendon reflexes in the affected limb. Two patients had painless lesions. Six patients had normal plain radiographs. Delay in the diagnosis of osteoid osteoma may be prevented by the knowledge that pain may be referred or radicular, that the concomitant occurrence of muscle atrophy and depressed deep tendon reflexes are relatively common findings, and that the characteristic radiological features may only appear late in the course of the disease.
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