We love to see kids smiling, playing sports that they love, expanding their social circles all the while getting a healthy dose of vitamin D.
However, it’s upsetting when you see your child limping off the field saying “My foot/knee/ankle hurts”. This is a very common problem, particularly in our young super heroes as they grow.
As a parent you are caught between a rock and a hard place; you want your child to be active, fit and healthy but their sport is causing them pain. What do you do?
It is likely that your child is experiencing a problem with their growth plates. It affects boys more so than girls. More active children experience growth plate issues than the couchsurfers, as the condition is related to excessive and repetitive tugging or pulling created by the muscles that attach to these growth plates. Common areas are the heel (calcaneal apophysitis), knee (tibial tubercle apophysitis) and the side of the foot (5th metatarsal apophysis). They have more commons names like Severs, Osgood Schlatters and Iselins disease, but we don’t really likes using them because it isn’t a disease – it’s a normal part of growth. AND to call it a disease sounds scary for young kids (and their parents).
As we have moved between sporting seasons, we often see an overlap of common sports like football, cricket, tennis, hockey and athletics. This can increase the load or stress on the feet and legs of our young ones.
Most of the time these growth plate conditions will respond well to assessing and modifying the childs activity levels, in addition to managing the increased loading of the vulnerable growth plates through footwear and foot orthotics and icing the affected areas after sport.
When discussing activities modification, sometimes we may suggest giving up SOME activities or prioritising representative teams or sports that children love. We will very rarely suggest that children completely rest from their sport if we suspect one of these conditions.
The final, and possibly most important point, is that with time the growth plate will fuse and the pain will resolve and it is unlikely that there will be any long term implications for the child's foot and ankle health.
So if you’re little Ricky Ponting is limping as he is running into bowl or your little Lauren Jackson is limping as she is dribbling the basketball down the court, please get in touch as we can help.