With the start of the new school year, we see a dramatic increase in visits to the clinic by children and adolescents. A summer of relatively low activity, followed by a sharp increase in sporting activity in the first few weeks of term can lead to an increased incidence of injuries. The two most common injuries we see are Severs Disease (heel pain) and Osgood Schlatters Disease (knee pain). While the names given to these conditions sound quite scary, they are not diseases and both usually settle over time.
During the growth spurt, the child’s soft tissues may need to catch up with the growth of the bones. This temporarily puts the tendons and other soft tissue structures under stress. The excess traction in the area where the tendon inserts into the bone can become inflamed and painful. The good news is the condition does settle with time and pain is not an indication of damage.
If your child has this issue, you can do the following to help:
- Ice regularly – especially after activity
- Modify the activity load. If your child is going through a growth spurt at the beginning of the sporting season, this can make the issue worse. It is important to find a tolerable level of activity that does not cause excessive pain and reduce enjoyment in the activity. Painful activities should be avoided.
As there are other conditions that cause knee and heal pain, a visit to a physiotherapist to assess and diagnose is advisable. Your physio will look at many variables that may be responsible for the condition such as muscle length, muscle strength, control and proprioception, gait, footwear and training load. The end goal is to encourage your child to manage the condition and to reduce the impact of pain on your child’s enjoyment.
The staff at RU Active Sports Physiotherapy are on hand to assess and treat to ensure your child keeps doing what they love.