Kids and Knee Pain
Knee pain is very common in teenagers, particularly teenagers doing lots of sport and physical activity. Let's have a look at a couple
of the most common causes of knee pain in adolescents and what can be done about it.
Often known as "that hard to pronounce thing that a few of the other kids at school have," Osgood-Schlatter's commonly affects kids going through growth spurts in early to mid adolescence. Pain is usually felt at the front of the knee in the mornings, after inactivity and with activities that load the quadriceps (such as running, jumping and stairs). A bony prominence at the top of the shin will be tender to touch.
It is caused by excessive tractional forces being applied at the cartilage growth plate, just below the area of bone into which the patellar tendon inserts.These forces can be caused by high levels of physical activity, and are often compounded by increased traction on the muscles associated with a growth spurt.
Osgood-Schlatter's can be managed with treatment including stretching, massage and taping. Ice and relative rest can help to settle symptoms as well.
The vast majority of the time this condition resolves itself either after the growth spurt, or once the child is fully grown and the cartilage growth plate has closed.
Patellofemoral pain is a common cause of knee pain in the general population, but is particularly prevalent in adolescents. Unhelpfully, pain may be felt at the front of the knee, slightly to either side or at the back of the knee (or a combination). Pain is usually aggravated by activities which load the quadriceps (such as running, jumping and stairs).
It is caused by the knee cap being pulled laterally in it's groove in the femur. This occurs when the outer quadriceps are worked harder than the inner quadriceps, resulting in the knee cap being pulled slightly outward.
Patellofemoral pain can be treated with massage, mobilisations of the patella and knee and taping. Exercises to improve the strength and coordination of the quadriceps and muscles around the hip are helpful to prevent the knee cap from being pulled laterally.