Knee problems in children

Knee pain in children is common and there are many causes. It is important that an accurate diagnosis is made to ensure that the appropriate treatment plan is adopted. It is very important to understand that some very serious problems affecting the hip joint can be felt by your child as pain in the thigh or the knee. It is mandatory that the hip is examined and often needs to be X-rayed before continuing to assess the knee.

Some of the commoner causes of knee pain are listed below. Mr Uglow has considerable experience in dealing with these conditions.

  • Anterior knee painĀ 
    • A ‘grab it all term’ that covers problems from the patella (knee cap) and its joint with the femur
    • Usually caused by softening of the cartilage during growth (chondromalacia)
  • Short hamstrings
    • Short hamstrings exert excessive pressure through the front of the knee and simple stretches of the hamstring muscles can be very effective in treating pain in the front of the knee
  • Patella instability
    • Where the knee cap ‘wobbles’ in its path on the femur or worse the knee cap actually pops out of joint (subluxation or dislocation)
    • Can be very painful and disabling
    • Important to ensure that true instability is treated because the joint surface can become damaged anytime that the knee cap pops out of its normal place.
  • Osteochondral defect (OCD)
    • A focal are of the joint surface can become soft and the joint is vulnerable and may split if not protected or treated.
  • Meniscal injuries
    • The meniscus is a cartilage in the joint and there is one on each side of the joint, It can become torn if injured
    • This can be a very difficult problem with long term consequences so if pain persists in your child’s knee it is important that this condition is excluded
  • Osgood-Schlatters
    • This is a painful problem that is actually quite innocent but persistent. It is effectively a tendonitis where the patella tendon joins onto the tibia just below the knee. A swelling is quite obvious and kids are worse with any impact such as jumping and sprinting etc.