PT Kids on: Knee pain in adolescents
Osgood Schlatters is a very common knee pathology that statistically affects more boys than girls. We usually see it during large growth periods and it tends to affect children who participate in more agility based activities such as running and jumping.
These types of activities cause us to use our quadriceps muscles regularly, sometimes overuse and repetitive loading leads to added pressure/strain on the patella tendon (a small structure that attaches to our tibia and withstands the force of quadriceps function). Because we know the majority of adolescent children still have growth phases ahead of them, the tibia isn’t quite as strong as it can be yet and this leads to a symptomatic knee.
The main symptom is pain and is usually just below the knee cap; it is very common to see a visible bony lump which can occasionally be red or inflamed. Upon feeling this lump it can be tender and this is where the patella tendon attaches to your tibia. Through exercises and activity, this area can be more symptomatic due to the strain of the patella tendon. This lump will likely remain permanently but it is important to say that the lump will not be symptomatic into adulthood. There is usually no restriction to the knee joint but it can be quite painful.
If pain becomes limiting for the child, then an anti-inflammatory based medication or paracetamol can be beneficial. In some cases, children can continue on with sports and symptoms will settle naturally. In other cases, physiotherapy can be beneficial. Guidance around stretching and exercises allow the child to remain active without increasing the force through the muscle. Other protective methods such as knee pads or ice therapy may have a good outcome. On the whole, the outcome is very good, the majority of symptoms will settle within a couple of months.
How can PT Kids help?
If your child is struggling with knee pain why not allow one of our therapists to assess their needs. Many children have their symptoms described as ‘growing pains’ but if their symptoms persist over a period of time we can provide either piece of mind or the treatment they need.
Many of the children we see and treat with knee pain are active and sporty young people. We can help keep them on the pitch or on the track participating in the sports and activities they love as well as ensuring that as they grow they maintain good posture, technique and muscle balance.
If you do feel an assessment regarding any of the above symptoms for your child is required, then please contact us