Although children that play sports aren’t as susceptible to knee pain and other joint problems as adults who engage in these activities, it’s still very common for children that participate in sports like soccer, football, and basketball to experience some type of knee pain due to excessive use of the joints and ligaments surrounding the knee.
There are a large variety of causes of joint pain in children, which can range all the way from minor pain derived from twisting the leg incorrectly, bunion pain from wearing the wrong shoes to a more serious MCL sprain. Whatever the cause, it’s essential for your child to consult a sports podiatrist and receive treatment immediately to ensure that the condition heals quickly and without causing further damage. The following details five of the most common causes of knee pain that children who play sports might encounter.
One of the more common types of knee pain from sports involves an ACL sprain, which occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament becomes injured in some way. With ACL sprains, there are three grades that the sprain can be labelled as, ranging from grade one to grade three. A grade three sprain is the most severe ACL sprain and is noted by a complete tear of the ligament.
These sprains are usually caused by a pivoting or twisting movement, which is why such an injury is particularly common among children who are runners, play soccer, or play basketball. Because of the severity of the injury, it typically needs to be treated with ACL reconstruction surgery, which allows for the long-term preservation of the knee and greatly heightens the chances that your child’s knee returns back to the condition it was in before the injury.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
The patellofemoral pain syndrome is one of the most common types of knee pain present in younger athletes and involves pain that’s located at the front of the knee. This syndrome is usually referred to as runner’s knee and is especially common among children who run a lot in sports like soccer and football. While this condition is usually brought about because of an overuse of the patellofemoral joint, it can also occur if your child’s knee cap receives a direct blow.
Jumper’s knee, also commonly referred to as patellar tendinitis, is a specific condition that causes pain to the patellar tendon, an area of the knee that’s used commonly in sports. Children who play basketball or volleyball have the highest chance of suffering from jumper’s knee, a condition that results in pain at the front of the knee.
Osgood-Schlatter is very similar in nature to jumper’s knee and is a disorder that solely affects children and is most common among young athletes. This condition causes symptoms like soreness, pain, and swelling, and occurs just below the kneecap when the growth plate in the area is irritated. Osgood-Schlatter is most common among children between the ages of 10 and 14.
Whether your child plays a sport like soccer or is signed up for track, a dislocated knee is the most common type of knee pain to look out for. Also referred to as kneecap instability, a dislocated knee typically occurs when the patella is pushed off towards the side of the knee joint, which can happen from a direct impact in this area or a sudden twisting move. In most cases, the best remedy is physical therapy, though other forms of treatment might be necessary to ensure that the patella doesn’t become dislocated in the future.
The next time your child talks to you about pain in their knee, make sure that you see a kids podiatrist right away. It’s also a good idea to have a personal trainer to teach your child the proper way to do every exercise movement to prevent the risks of knee injury!