Pediatric orthopaedists are the best-trained doctors to properly evaluate and treat musculoskeletal (bone, joint, or muscle) problems in children who are still growing, from newborn babies through teenagers.

Because children are still growing, the body’s response to injuries, infections, and deformities may be quite different than what would be seen in a full-grown person. They cannot always say what is bothering them, answer medical questions, or cooperate during a medical examination. Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons know how to examine and treat children in a way to help them relax and cooperate.

Children with complex pediatric problems are best managed by a medical-surgical team approach. Pediatric orthopaedic surgeons diagnose, treat, and manage such children’s musculoskeletal problems as:

  • Limb and spine deformities noted at birth or later in life (clubfoot, scoliosis, limb length differences)
  • Gait abnormalities (limping)
  • Broken bones
  • Bone or joint infections and tumors

The UC Davis Pediatric Orthopaedic Service combines the resources of UC Davis Health System and Shriners’ Hospital for Children, Northern California (SHCNC), to provide comprehensive musculoskeletal care for children, including:

  • Reconstructive pediatric orthopaedics
  • Pediatric orthopaedic trauma
  • Limb deficiencies and prosthetics
  • Hand and upper extremity surgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Sports medicine
  • Neuromuscular conditions
  • Spinal cord injury rehabilitation

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the Pediatric Orthopaedic Service as a leader in its 2016-2017 rankings of U.S. children’s hospitals, together in collaboration with Shriners Hospital for Children – Northern California, our longstanding partner in caring for children with orthopaedic disorders. Being ranked in the annual survey is a distinction given to only the country's top children’s hospitals.

Our team

Pediatric hand and upper-extremity surgeon Michelle James heads the UC Davis pediatric orthopaedic team. A UC Davis professor, she has a special interest in congenital malformations, reconstruction of the upper extremity after spinal cord injury, and reconstruction of the burned hand. She is an investigator with the Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, which is designed to expand the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s capability to test promising new therapies.

Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery Jennette Boakes’ interests include treatment of hip dysplasia in children and adolescents, congenital and acquired limb deformity, leg length discrepancy, congenital disorders of the foot (including clubfoot), and fracture care. Her research interests include spastic muscle, muscle adaptation to leg lengthening, and gait analysis.