As parents, we all want the best for our children. Nothing is more concerning than our children in pain. Children’s feet differ from those of adults, as they are still growing. As a parent, it’s easy to think your child is experiencing growing pains and overlook this, however, it could also be an overuse injury. If your child is suffering from any lower leg symptoms, exhibits an awkward gait or walk, has flat feet, uneven shoe wear, poor posture and stability or complaining of pain then you should schedule a consultation with one of our Podiatrists. Overuse injuries can affect the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and growth plates. In children these structures are vulnerable as they are still growing.
Want to learn more about overuse injuries? Contact us today.
Common Overuse Injuries in Children
The three most common overuse injuries causing foot, knee and leg pain in Children are:
- Severs Disease (affecting the heel bone)
- Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease (affecting the knee)
- Growing pains
What Is Severs Disease?
Severs disease (now more correctly termed calcaneal apophysitis) is not an actual disease but the irritation of the growth plate in the heel bone in children. The growth plate is a layer of cartilage near the end of a bone where the bone grows in length. It is weaker and more at risk for injury than the rest of the bone. Severs Disease often occurs during a growth spurt, when the bones, muscles, and tendons grow at different rates. Not all children will get heel pain, however, those that do will eventually grow out of the condition when the growth slows down. Our Podiatrists will offer the best treatment solutions aimed at reducing pain, improving stability, strength and flexibility – keeping your child on the sporting field.
What is Osgood-Schlatters Disease?
Osgood-Schlatter disease (again not an actual disease) is the irritation of the growth plate at the top of the shinbone. OSD typically causes pain and swelling below the kneecap. The pain usually gets worse with running, jumping, going up stairs, and walking up hills. It is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems seen in adolescents. It is most common in 10-15-year-olds but can be also seen outside of these ages, especially if a child has an early or late growth spurt. It is usually associated with high levels of physical activity, especially high-impact sports such as basketball or football.
Want to learn more about common injuries leading to knee pain and foot pain in children?
What are Growing Pains?
Growing pains are often described as an ache or throb in the legs — often in the front of the thighs, the calves or hamstrings. The pain is in the muscles not the joints. Growing pains tend to affect both legs and occur at night, which may even wake a child from sleep. Growing pains usually coincide with increased activity.
Does your child suffer from growing pains? Learn more about growing pains and how they can be effectively managed whilst your child is still growing!
Common signs of an Overuse Injury in children
It is important to be aware of the more common signs of an overuse injury. These include:
- Pain – Especially pain that cannot be associated to an injury, such as from a fall or a contact in a sport. This pain often increases with activity.
- Painful limp or protective walk
- Decreased interest in activity or sport
Treatments for Lower limb Overuse Injuries in Children and Adolescents
- Activity modification may be necessary (reduced intensity or reduced training days)
- Adequate water and food intake and sleep
- Improve footwear
- Address lower limb biomechanics if contributing factor – if your child has poor foot posture, tight muscles or joint hypermobility they may be more prone to getting overuse injuries.
Want to learn more about our varied treatment options for children’s foot pain and lower leg pain?
When Should I Bring My Child to see a Podiatrist?
Podiatrists play an important role in addressing concerns with children’s feet and lower limbs, their walking and running patterns and gross motor development. Children’s feet and legs are more malleable to change when they are younger, often making treatments more effective at a younger age. If required, early Podiatry treatment can improve children’s strength and coordination and reduce the likelihood of foot and lower limb problems occurring in adulthood.
Many children’s foot and leg issues can be simply addressed when caught early on. With the right treatment, this ensures that your child is moving well, and that they are healthy and happy in the long term.
Does your child suffer from knee pain or feet problems? Make an appointment with Foundation Podiatry today, so they can get back to everything they enjoy – pain free!