More than just 'Growing Pains'?

In Physiotherapy we see some conditions that only occur in Children and Adolescents. Sometimes painful muscles or joints are more than just 'Growing Pains'. This article provides some information which may help you start to understand what your Child or Adolescent may suffering from and what to do next.

Children and Teenagers may get several injuries as they are growing up, especially if they play sports. Most of these will settle within a few days and completely resolve in a short period of time. But what about the ones that don't? Those that are recurrent or do not resolve quickly? We advise that they get checked by your GP or Physiotherapist for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan so they do not become long term or recurrent issues. 

Some of these injuries, aches and pains that do not occur in Adults are due to the fact these young people are still growning. This means they can develop conditions due to the immature bone and the weaker areas from where the bone is growing called  growth plates. 

Two relatively common injuries are Osgood Schlatters Disease and Severes Disease which occur in some young people who participate in sports. These conditions usually present during a period of rapid growth and tends to be during the ages 8-13 in girls and 10-15 in boys. 

Osgood Schlatters - How it happens?

When you use your big thigh muscles (quadriceps) the tendon pulls on the upper shin bone below the knee. Unfortunately this is the same area where the bone grows from and the traction force can then cause pain and inflammation which would be far less likely in the strong mature bone in an adult.

The signs that you may see if your child or adolescent has this injury are:

  • If the knee is slightly swollen usually one knee is affected but both can be.
  • There is a tender bony bump at the top of the shin
  • The tender bump is about 2 inches below the kneecap
  • It hurts and some cases worsen in activities such as:

- Kneeling

- Jumping

- Running

- Squating / lunging

Which Sports is it commonly found in?

Any sport that involves heavy use of the Quadriceps muscles like running and jumping e.g. Football, Gymnastics.

How can you get rid of the Osgood-Schlatter?

Firstly you need confirmation of your diagnosis from your health professional such as your GP or Physio. Often there is a need to decrease the aggravating sport / activity to allow the inflammed area to settle. Treatement often aims to decrease the pain and inflammation, maintain flexibility and analyse and correct abnormal mechanics / movement patterns (abnormal mechanics or movement patterns may make this condition more likely). 


Severes Disease – How it happens?

During the growth spurt the heel bone can grow faster than the leg muscles resulting in the muscles and tendons to become stiff and overstretched, thus making the heel less flexible and putting more pressure in the growth plate.This can produce inflammation and swelling in the lower achilles tendon and its attachment to the heel bone. 

Possible signs & Symptoms of Severes Disease:

  • If they have pain or tenderness in one or both heels, usually at the back of the heel.
  • If the pain extends to the side and the bottom of the heel which ends near the arch of the foot.
  • Swelling and redness in the heel.
  • Difficulty in walking.
  • Discomfort or stiffness in the feet when waking up.
  • Discomfort in the heel when it is squeezed on both sides.
  • Unusual walking, which could include
  • Walking with a limp
  • Walking on the ball or their tiptoes to avoid the pressure on the heel

Other ways that it can increase the chances of getting Severs Disease

  • Pronated foot- a foot that rolls on at the ankle when walking which causes tightness and twisting of the Achilles tendon, which increases the pull on the heel’s growth plate.
  • Flat or a high arch- which affects the angle of the heel within the foot, which can cause bowing, tightness and shortening of the Achilles tendon.
  • Excessively hard or soft surfaces. poor-fitting shoes or ones with poor cushioning are also thought to be possible factors. 

Which Sports is it commonly found in?

It mostly occurs in sports that heavily use tha calf muscles for example basketball, football and gymnastics.. 

How can you get rid of Severes Diseae?

Again you need confirmation of your diagnosis from your health professional such as your Doctor or Physiotherapist. As with Osgood Schallters often there is a need to decrease the aggravating sport / activity to allow the inflammed area to settle. Treatement often includes methods to decrease the pain and inflammation, maintain flexibility. Like Osgood Schlatters there may be abnormal mechanics or movement patterns which may need correcting. This may include strength and coordication exercises.  

If you feel that your child or adolescent has any of the signs & Symptoms mentioned her in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us for you to book a Free 15-minute consultation with one of our expert Chartered Physiotherapists. These appointments will help confirm the diagnosis and the treatment options . They are available at all our clinics (Batley, Morley & Castleford).  

Appointments for all clinics can be booked through our main number 07789 223 622 or if you prefer email

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Posted on : 26-04-2016

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