Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Addressing knee problems in children

If your child develops knee problems, the pain is most likely to be due to an
acute injury or overuse and usually settles quickly by itself without the need
for any treatment. As long as your child can walk and jump, can move the knee
without problems, is otherwise well and the knee is getting better with time,
you donft need to worry too much.

Knowing a little about the following conditions helps you to decide what to
do when your child has knee problems:
. Injury: Knee pain due to sports injuries or from a fall is common in
children. Unless any of the red flag symptoms that I describe a little further
on in this section are present, you can usually safely wait and see
whether the pain gets better by itself. Paracetamol (check the instructions
on the packet, as you need to give the correct dosage for your
childfs age) or other preparations available over-the- counter may help
relieve any discomfort in the meantime . consult your pharmacist.

. Overuse: Injuries due to running around too much, hiking or engaging
in new activities such as roller-skating are common. In older children,
a condition known as Osgood-Schlatter disease is common, in which
overuse causes inflammation at the top of the shin bone. Stopping these
activities until the pain settles is usually enough, but the pain may take
a couple of months to fade. Ibuprofen, taken as a tablet or put directly
onto the knee as a gel, may help (check the instructions so that you give
the correct dosage for your childfs age). Your pharmacist can recommend
suitable pain relief, but consult your GP if youfre concerned.

. Unusual knee shape: Knock knees and bow legs may sometimes cause
long-standing knee pain. See your GP for assessment if the pain is bothersome
and doesnft settle with rest and over-the-counter medication.

Sometimes, knee pain may be due to what health professionals call referred
pain from the hip or spine. If your child has knee pain, check whether she also
has the following red flag symptoms or signs, which need to prompt you to
seek medical advice immediately:

. A feeling of being unwell, fever or vomiting.
. A knee that keeps giving way.
. A limp for no apparent reason or that doesnft improve.
. An additional pain in the hip.
. An inability to bear weight fully on the affected leg.
. An inability to move the leg properly, and the knee is fixed in a certain
position (called locking).
. A pain thatfs severe, constant and doesnft get better at rest or at night.


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