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A slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a condition in which the epiphysis over the head of the femur slips outward and backwards, putting the hip joint in outward rotation and altering the relation of the femoral neck and head.
The slip may be acute or chronic, and occurs through the growth plate. It usually takes place during the growing years, from 12-16 years in boys and 10-14 years in girls. The overall incidence of SCFE in the US is 10.8 out of 100,000 children. Boys are more frequently affected, with 13.3 out of every 100,000 boys developing the condition compared to approximately 8 out of 100,000 girls.
The etiology of SCFE is not yet known, but the following factors are thought to increase the risk. It is noteworthy that all of them lead to reduced shear resistance or higher stress across the proximal growth plate of the femur, so that any force acting in the right direction results in pushing the femur head and neck apart across the cartilaginous plate.
SCFE arises because of the forces that act on the growth plate. It occurs as a result of weakness in the hypertrophic zone of the growth plate cartilage which allows the neck of the femur to move forward and rotate externally, while the epiphysis remains in the acetabular cavity.