Adolescent Knee Pain

It is a minefield out there with many different knee pain diagnosis existing.

Trying to determine the fact from the fiction can be a challenging task especially when moody ‘Arabella’ comes home from hockey and music practice with grumbly one worded grunts of knee pain everywhere and life is so unfair! Working out what is causing her knee pain, fact from fiction, can be a daunting task. Is it an overloaded scheduled sporty child or a lazy one that doesn’t want to go to hockey practice?

The different diagnosis of knee pain are numerous – to name a few: Patello-femoral pain syndrome/ Chondromalacia patellae, Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, Hypermobility syndrome, Osteochondritis dissecans, Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome. I could go on but you may have already dozed off……

One of the more common knee pains seen in adolescence is “Anterior Knee Pain” which is not the same as Chondromalacia patellae pain although the two are commonly mixed up.

Usually symptoms can include pain at night, pain with stairs up and down, pain with impact exercise.

Where is the pain?

The pain is felt at the front of the knee or around the kneecap area. It is more common in girls than boys and can occur when children increase their sporting activities or when they have a growth spurt.

What causes the pain?

Inflammation/irritation of the ligaments, muscles and tendons. The good thing is that in nearly all adolescent cases the cartilage is not affected and no long term structural damage occurs to the knee!

What is the cause?

This could be a combination of things such as an increased mechanical stress on the bones/tendons from a growth spurt, poor biomechanics or wearing bad footwear-unsupported trendy shoes!, tight hamstrings/quads, over exercising, hypermobility, weak butt and tummy muscles the list goes on……

The important message I want to get across is the next time ‘Arabella’ moans about her knee pain, stop and ask her is it stopping her playing her favourite sport? Ask her to calibrate her pain with an experience, rather than how much pain do you have, or you may end up with another grunt! Is it perhaps stopping her doing something she likes? If so you need to get your GP or Physio to get their hands on her knee and assess it!

I leave you with a dynamic lunge quads stretch. This is a good one to do when having a break from the maths homework. Enjoy!!!


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