We all like to encourage our children, particularly our adolescent children, to get out and get involved in sports. This helps with teamwork, fitness and keeps them occupied. The flipside is a child’s growing skeleton can’t quite keep up with the demands created by sport.
This is why more and more, we are seeing Teens with knee pain, commonly ages 9 to 14. This condition, called Osgood-Schlatters after the doctors who discovered it, and is highly treatable. Unfortunately, it can be very uncomfortable while it is active.
Thirty years ago, this was called “growing pains” however, today due to the competitive nature of school sports pain that limits activities can become a real problem. This is when kids, teens, parents, and coaches are looking for new ways to treat the condition while keeping their kids on the field.
What is Osgood-Schlatters?
Dr. Andrew Arnold describes Osgood-Schlatters as a condition where the bony protrusion below the knee (called the tibial tuberosity) becomes inflamed. The tendon that covers the patella inserts here and through overuse can tug away at the bone, causing inflammation. When new bone grows back, it often causes a bony lump. It most commonly affects males, but more female athletes are reporting problems as well. The tendons can’t keep up with bone growth, because at this age bones grow so quickly. This results in over-stretching and pain.
This can affect any major tendon in the body.
The primary symptom is pain during exercise and when you touch the affected area under the kneecap. This usually improves with rest. Also swelling below the kneecap or a bony protrusion in the same area and weakness in the quad muscle.
Osgood-Schlatters is self-limiting. Prevention is the key. Rest and sometimes, taking a season out.
The first step is to treat the pain and swelling with anti-inflammatories. At Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre we off a natural product called Cucuforte’ which is just as effective as drug anti-inflammatories.
Chiropractors aim to mobilize the knee joint, taking the stress off the knee muscles.
We also sometimes recommend a special type of knee brace called Genu-valgum support much like a tennis elbow splint. This soft kneepad helps protect the painful area from being hit by a blow from a ball, another child or a fall, which can make it worse.
In the end, the only real cure for the condition is time. All children will outgrow it, and the pain will go away as their tendons catch up to their bone growth.
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