Knee pain in children may be caused by a variety of conditions. Some of these conditions may be rare but can be quite serious in nature. Knee pain in children should be evaluated by your doctor.
A common cause of knee pain in a growing child is injury to a growth plate in the front of the knee. This may be accompanied by swelling in the area. This condition is called Osgood-Schlatter’s disease. It occurs most commonly in children between the ages of 10 -14. It is often associated with playing sports and aggressive bicycle riding. It is felt that the condition is primarily caused by an abnormal pull of the tendon that attaches into the painful area from the kneecap. This tendon is called the patellar tendon.
Treatment of Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease
Treatment consists of avoiding activities that aggravate the condition such as kneeling or excessive flexion of the knee. Icing the area and anti-inflammatory medications such as Tylenol or Advil may provide temporary relief. Often the abnormal knee function is due to the way the foot functions. In this instance the foot causes the lower leg to rotate slightly inward. This causes the patellar tendon to pull in an abnormal direction where it attaches in front of the knee causing damage to the growth plate in this area. If this is the cause of the problem then treatment might consist of a custom fitted shoe insert called an orthotic. The orthotic corrects the underlying foot condition that is affecting the lower leg and knee. A podiatrist trained in the use of functional orthotics should be able to evaluate the cause of the problem and if it is caused by abnormal foot function adequately treat the condition.