Knee problems can develop at any age throughout childhood and also arise due to diseases, developmental defects or injuries. Childhood knee problems can lead to deformity, pain or swelling. Knock-knees and bow legs are considered self-limiting developmental abnormalities that develop during the toddler years.
Knee pain is a usual complaint among teenagers. The pain can be instigated by various conditions in which the chief ones include patellar subluxation, patellofemoral pain syndrome, patellar tendinitis, Osgood-Schlatter disease and osteochondritis dissecans.
Structure of the knee joint
The knee joint is comprised of three bone ends namely the tibia, patella and femur. The cavity contains synovial fluid and lined by the synovial membrane. The articular cartilage covers the ending of the bones.
In between these endings, there are shock absorbers known as menisci. The muscle tendons and ligaments cover the joint. The quadriceps and hamstrings are responsible for supporting the knee joint. If there are any problems involving any of these parts, it can cause symptoms affecting the knee joint.
Common knee problems among girls
Patellofemoral pain syndrome – occurs among teenage girls and triggers dull pain around and behind the knee. The pain is worsened during and after weight-bearing exercises, being seated for extended periods and descending stairs. The condition is managed with pain medications, taking a break from aggravating activities and muscle strengthening exercises to reduce the pain.
Patellar subluxation – common among teenage girls that cause knee pain that can be accompanied by locking or catching sensations in the knee. The treatment involves exercises and application of splints. In some cases, surgery is also required for recurrent cases.
Common knee problems among boys
Osgood-Schlatter syndrome – common among boys engaging in sports which causes pain and tenderness below the kneecap. The pain increases during activity and reduces after resting. The condition can last for several months but eventually subside as the child grows of the adolescent growth spurt.
Jumper’s knee or patellar tendonitis – activities that involves jumping and hopping can trigger pain. Tenderness is also present right below the knee cap where the patellar tendon connects to the shin bone. Application of ice, rest and strengthening exercises can help manage the condition.
Other knee problems during childhood
Sustaining direct trauma can result to bone fractures. As for ligament injuries, they occur due to abrupt twisting movements such as in basketball. Immediate care with application of ice, rest and pain medications as well as consulting a doctor as soon as possible is the ideal approach for any injuries.