Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"It's just growing pains"


Growing pains is a phrase you may hear as a parent, when speaking to other Mums and Dads or visiting the GP with your Son or Daughter. As children develop they may complain of having sore legs, that feel tight and ache, particularly more in the evening and this may sometimes be attributed to growing pains.
According to NHS England, growing pains may be experienced in children from the age of 3 years to 12 years of age and they should not affect their ability to walk or partake in physical activity. The exact cause of growing pains is unknown and can’t be attributed to a growth spurt. Treatment for growing pains advised by the NHS is the use of pain killers or anti-inflammatories, gentle massage to the muscles of the legs, applying heat and supportive footwear.




Other conditions that may lead to your child experiencing pain in the legs are:
i) Osgood Schlatters Disease ii) Chondromalacia Patellae and iii) Infrapatellar Tendinitis.

Osgood Schlatters Disease
Cause:
Generally caused by overuse, although there are certain factors that may contribute. Such as;
Age – Typically affects boys aged between 13 – 15 years of age. Girls may also be affected, but more typically around the ages of 10 – 12 years of age.
Activity As the bones of a young active child develop, the muscles and tendons can take a little more time to catch up to the same point. These developmental changes result in a pulling force on the tibial tuberosity (bony prominence at the top of your shin bone) where the patellar tendon attaches.  This may cause the area to become painful, swollen and inflamed. Frequent in younger children that often do a lot of running and jumping activities, as their bones are still soft and not yet fully grown.
Treatment:
        Rest – continue to exercise, but in a pain free range.
         Ice; apply cold therapy to the local area of pain and swelling
         NSAID’s; the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication e.g. Ibuprofen.
         Gentle stretching and massage of the quadriceps/thigh muscles. This may be helpful when the area is no longer painful.

Chondromalacia Patellae
Cause:
Commonly caused by inflammation of the retro-patella cartilage/behind the knee cap. The exact cause is unknown; however, it is thought that contact between the patella and the end of the femur/thigh bone may cause friction and damage to the cartilage. Contributing factors may be;
Gender It is thought to be more common in young girls more than boys. This may be due to the slight increase in Q angle, which is the angle between the hip and the knee.
SportsOveruse of the knees in certain sports i.e. ones that involve a lot of running, jumping and changes in direction.
Symptoms:
        Pain around the knee, typically at the front of the knee or around/behind the knee cap. Aggravating factors tend to be going up or down stairs and sitting for a prolonged time with the knees bent.
      May experience a grinding or grating feeling or noise when moving the knee.
        Swelling of the knee joint, however this is rare.
Treatment: 
         Avoidance; avoiding strenuous activity until the pain improves.
         Pain relief; the GP may advise pain relief or NSAID’s e.g. paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
        Strengthening exercises; these may help to correct muscle imbalance issues and improve the movement of the knee cap.

Infrapatellar Tendonitis
Cause:
A condition that occurs due to inflammation and irritation of the patella tendon. It is commonly referred to as “jumper’s knee” and seen in young athletes who partake in sports that require a lot of repetitive jumping i.e. basketball and volleyball. It may also be seen in runners and other athletes.
Patella tendinosis is a chronic condition. Instead of the tendon appearing irritated and inflamed, the condition is more gradual in development and is characterised by micro tears and thickening of the tendon.
Symptoms:
        Pain directly over the tendon itself
        Tendon may appear tender and swollen, with the experience of a crunching sensation on movement.
      Difficulty in certain activities such as, jumping or kneeling.
Treatment:
       Rest; is the first and most important step. It is important to avoid activities that aggravate the problem.
        NSAID’s; the GP may provide anti0-inflammatories to help reduce the pain and inflammation.
        Ice; applying local ice to the sight of pain and inflammation will help reduce swelling and aid the healing process.
        Stretching; quadriceps, hamstring and calf stretches pre-and post-activity will help to prepare the area for activity and soften the muscles after. This is a good habit to get into, as it helps maintain optimal function.

At WeaverHouse we offer free 15 minute Osteopathic assessments to patients of all ages.
 If you would like to discuss any queries around the issues raised or bring your child in for a free check,
Please contact the clinic on 01270 629933


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