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The limping child is a common presentation to paediatric services. In most instances the cause is benign with few, if any, investigations required. There is, however, always that concern that the limping child may have an underlying limb-threatening or life-threatening disease. This poses a challenge to clinicians, who must find that balance between correctly identifying disease early and avoiding the risks and harms of overinvestigation. In this article we discuss the diagnostic approach to the limping child and present a structure for assessment, investigation and risk management.