Knee pain in the adolescent fundamentals
Chronic pain in the front and center of the knee is common among teens who enjoy sports.
Knee pain in the adolescent can encompass a myriad of underlying conditions. Most often, various forms of tendinitis and apophysitis are the cause. Examples include Osgood-Schlatter's disease, patellar tendonitis, quadriceps tendonitis and patellofemoral stress syndrome.
Problems in alignment as well as overuse can cause increased pressure on the kneecap. The pressure can pull the kneecap out of its groove, causing pain. Abnormal hip rotation, improper training methods and inflexible thigh muscles can all contribute to stress on the knee joint.
What are the symptoms?
- Gradual increase in pain intensity
- Difficulty bearing weight on leg
- Popping sounds in knee during flexion
- Pain during flexion
What are my child's treatment options?
To determine the cause of the knee pain, your child's doctor will likely request an X-ray, while also testing the knee's flexibility, strength and range of motion.
To relieve swelling and pain, apply ice to the tender area and give your child NSAIDs (examples include Ibuprofen and Alleve). Have your child refrain from activities that contribute to the pain. If your child is obese, the doctor may recommend losing weight as a means of reducing knee pressure. Braces, orthotics and a knee sleeve may also ease the pain.
Once the pain and swelling are under control, adhere to an exercise program prescribed by your child's doctor to normalize the thigh muscle and build hamstring flexibility and strength. Have your child return to sports and other recreational activities gradually.
To prevent the recurrence of knee pain, make sure your child wears shoes, follows a stretching regimen, especially after play or workouts, and refrains from activities that exacerbate knee pain.
What are the CCF physician credentials?
All doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Orthopaedic Surgery are board-certified or board-eligible in orthopaedic surgery. In addition, our surgeons have subspecialty training and years of experience in pediatric surgery.
All Cleveland Clinic staff radiologists are board-certified or board-eligible in radiology or have the international equivalent.
All Cleveland Clinic staff rehabilitation specialists are board-certified or board-eligible in physical medicine and rehabilitation, or have the international equivalent.
All Cleveland Clinic staff pain management specialists are board-certified or board-eligible in pain management or have the international equivalent.
How do I make an appointment?
Call 216.444.2606 or toll free 800.223.2273, ext. 42606, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
What clinical trials and orthopaedic research are being conducted at CCF on the procedure?
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are involved in ongoing studies that investigate new drugs and treatment approaches for managing disease. Participants in these clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. There are currently more than 1,700 active clinical studies underway.
Are there other resources that I can go to for more information on the procedure?
Patients can go to the following resources for more information on this procedure:
Why should I seek a second opinion regarding treatment for this procedure?
As modern medical care grows more complex, patients can feel overwhelmed. The opportunity to consult a recognized authority about a particular diagnosis and treatment can bring peace of mind at an emotionally difficult time. A second opinion may be beneficial when:
- You are uncertain about having surgery.
- You still have questions or concerns about your current treatment.
- A controversial or experimental treatment is recommended.
- You have multiple medical problems.
- You have choices to make about treatment.