As a parent, one of the toughest realities of the role is to witness your child suffering. Be it something minor and short-lived like a stomachache or bumped head, or more serious and enduring like an injury or an illness. There is nothing worse than feeling completely helpless and wishing you could only take the pain away. When it comes to knee pain, there are several causes, as well as corresponding ways you as a parent can manage it. Hopefully, this guide can be of some help to you if your child ever experiences knee pain, either now or in the future.
The most common reasons for knee pain in children range from innocent to more serious in nature. One of the most prevalent types of recurring knee discomfort, between the ages of 3 to 12, is growing pains. These pains are characterized by an aching feeling in the lower leg, often behind the knee. This discomfort most frequently occurs at night, when growth takes place, and might even wake the child if severe.
A quick fix to this pesky, but completely normal ailment would be an age-appropriate child-friendly dose of paracetamol taken during the onset of pain, of course with the advice of your doctor. However, if you would like to try a more preventative and natural approach, you might start by introducing a series of minerals into the child’s diet in meal or supplement form. You can get more information from For-Knees.com, where they have a list of recommended vitamins for knee health. For instance, eating a healthy diet with a variety of good omega-3 sources like oily fish and seeds provides natural anti-inflammatory action. The good thing about growing pains is that they usually only occur intermittently for short periods. That said, if your child is complaining of prolonged, severe leg pain, it is definitely worth taking him or her to have it checked out by a medical doctor or knee specialist.
Children are active, adventurous, playful, and often-times, quite rough. Injuries are inevitable and the severity of the impact will be up for you to monitor. If your child experiences a level of trauma to the knee, such as from a fall from a tree, a contact sports injury, or a trampoline-jump-gone-wrong, there are a few warning signs to look out for. Swelling, bruising, redness, or difficulty bearing weight may be indicative of a deeper issue such as an anatomical fallout like a break, sprain, or tear. It is then advisable to take your child to be seen by a medical professional who might do an X-ray or further investigation to assess the cause and plan for treatment. If you would like to learn more about the specific signs, you can check out https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/knee-injuries.html. If it is a break or fracture, the management might include a cast or crutches to be worn for a recovery period.
Believe it or not, children can suffer from a form of arthritis. Although this is a more rare cause of knee pain in kids, and not said with the intention to alarm, but just worth being aware. If your child is experiencing knee joint pain, accompanied by other symptoms like fever, rash, and general malaise, there might be something else at play. Doctors will do a series of examinations to determine whether arthritis could be the culprit.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disease of unknown cause and the most common type of arthritis in children. This joint stiffness is noticed particularly in the morning and usually in the context of several other symptoms as listed above. For more information on it, you can check out https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis.
The treatment of JIA is often in the form of rehabilitation services such as occupational or physiotherapy. Doctors might prescribe medication for pain relief in oral or injection form. A holistic diet to decrease general inflammation in the body might also be advised. Families seeking more holistic solutions might benefit from functional medicine specialists who view arthritis as a symptom of a more integrated picture.
Knee pain in children, while relatively common, is often nothing to be dramatically concerned about. However, it is still worth knowing the different types, causes, and treatments available for knee pain in your little one. If you are observing signs of a more serious nature, always err on the side of caution and take your child to be seen by a professional whose area of expertise it is.