Children's joint pain

12/03/2021

Children’s Health 

Growth and development- part 1

 

Winter, lockdowns and home schooling have not been conducive to getting out there and exercising. There has certainly been little danger of over exercising with the youngsters in our household during the time they have not been at school and I’m sure that’s true for many others at this time.

With the return to school this week and the sudden return of exercise I wanted to tell you about two conditions concerning ankles and knees which are both caused by excessive running, jumping or high impact sports.

 

The first condition that I would like to discuss is Sever’s disease. This is a heel injury occurring in physically active children, usually coinciding with a growth spurt. This can be between the ages of 8 and 15 years of age. It may be more common at the start of a new sporting season or due to repetitive jumping, running or prolonged standing - any prolonged or additional pressure to the heels.

This excessive force can cause inflammation and swelling where the achilles tendon joins the heel bone. 

Symptoms may include; swelling of the heel, redness of the skin, foot stiffness - especially early in the morning, tenderness that worsens if the heel or foot is squeezed or trouble walking.

Sever’s is a common complaint causing temporary pain but no long term damage.

Treatment may be as straightforward as rest, ice, compression, stretches, exercise and wearing suitably supportive shoes. The sooner a diagnosis can be made, the sooner appropriate action can be taken to limit time away from sporting activities.  

 

The second condition to highlight is Osgood-Schlatters. Very similar to Severs but occurring in the front of the knee, this is inflammation of the growth plate at the top of the shin bone/tibia - where the tendon from the knee cap attaches. The growth plate is a layer of cartilage at the end of the bone and it is weaker than the rest of the bone therefore more prone to injury.

 

This condition is also most common during childhood growth spurts, years 8-13 for girls and 10-15 for boys. It is more common for boys to experience this condition than girls and is most likely to occur in teenage athletes who play sports that involve a lot of jumping and running. 

Symptoms may include; knee or leg pain, swelling/ tenderness under the knee and over the shin, pain that worsens during high impact activities, for example running and limping after physical activity.

Conservative treatment is usually sufficient to resolve this condition; ice, rest, osteopathy/physical therapy, stretching and the use of a knee support if necessary.

Although this is usually a minor condition with no long term complications it is important to get a prompt diagnosis via the osteopath or GP to enable the correct treatment plan to be implemented as soon as possible. This can speed up the healing process so that children can soon return to their favourite sports pain free. 

The prevalence of these conditions has probably been much reduced due to the limitation of group sports and activities generally.  With Spring arriving and the lifting of the restrictions, I’m sure there will be great enthusiasm for children to return to sport. This means that after a long break, it may be important to have raised awareness of these problems. 

 

If you have any concerns or questions concerning symptoms experienced by a child, please do not hesitate to contact Trinity Practice for advice or treatment.  Telephone 01747 851726

 

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