Our tweens and teens are growing rapidly and full of energy. Exercise and sport are brilliant diversions, but heel and knee pain are common complaints in this age group – especially when they are active. For parents, hearing your child complain of pain and limping about can be quite stressful especially when the problem seems to build over a period of weeks. Today we will explore common causes of the knee and heel pain that are seen in active growing adolescents and how we can manage these.
Causes of pain:
- Osgood Schlatter’s disease – top of the shin bone
- Sinding Larsen Johansson disease – below the knee cap
Why does it hurt?
Muscles attach to bones through tendons. In Osgood-Schlatter, Sinding Larsen Johansson and Severs disease, the tendon attaches to a growth area which is softer than normal bone. This makes the growth area prone to becoming sore during activity when the muscles are contracting and pulling on these sites. The image below gives a clear outline of what is happening in these conditions.
Signs and symptoms:
Some common symptoms you may experience across the knees and ankle are:
- Pain, tenderness and swelling at the bone below the kneecap or bottom of the achilles tendon – see pictures above
- Pain worse with exercise such as running, jumping, kicking and walking up/down stairs
- Pain improves with rest
The treatment for these conditions includes:
- Activity modification
- Stretching and strengthening
For more detail about signs and symptoms and treatment for each condition see our upcoming posts!