Sports & play injuries

Kids will be kids - fearless and intrepid in inventing and using new toys to go faster and do things we never dreamt of doing when we were young.


But don't ignore persistent pain in a child!

Injuries are an inevitable part of growing up, whether on the playground, on the section or on the sports field. In most cases your child or teenager will miraculously bounce back and recover, but persistent pain should not be ignored.

This is for two reasons:

#1   Children's bodies, bones and joints are still developing. Prolonged injury and compensations for that injury can worsen or have longer term knock-on effects - even into adulthood.

#2   As with adults, a pain that refuses to go away needs to be investigated to exclude more serious causes. For example, pain & swelling in a child's knee should never be ignored for the simple reason that there are aggressive forms of bone cancer that seem to target the younger age groups.


Treatment or advice not working?

If your kid has had an injury and treatment but is still in pain, then call us. In many cases this will be because an underlying problem with the mechanics of a joint has not been corrected. Or it may be that the hands-on part of the treatment has been inadequate - too little or too limited in addressing problems contributing to the pain.

Is your child highly competitive?

Falls, twists and impact injuries are not the only cause of problems. With children getting more involved in competitive sports from an earlier age, they are also often expected to be involved in intense training, often amounting to many hours a week. This in itself can lead to painful physical strains which, left untreated, can put a stop to what your child or young teenager enjoys most.


What shall I do?

No point in asking a mechanic what they think is wrong with your car before they've even lifted the bonnet. So the first thing is to bring your child in for a proper assessment.

We will assess the injury to decide whether further investigation such as X-rays or surgery is needed and refer the child if necessary. In the vast majority of cases no referral will be needed and we can then work to relieve any strains in the joint or soft tissues to get the healing going. The good news is that most kids do not need much treatment before they're right to go off and injure themselves again!


Growing pains

Growing pains are due to the mismatch between the rate of muscle growth and the rate of bone growth. Rapid increase in the development and use of muscle can cause or aggravate the condition (see 'Growing Pains' section). In many cases, work to stretch out the muscles will help the problem considerably. But sometimes a period of rest can't be avoided if the problem is not to get worse.


Osgood Schlatter's disease

Over activity in kids may result in Osgood Schlatter’s disease, where the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh pull at the surface of the bone where they attache just below the knee. This often results in a painful, visible lump. Whatever you think might be going on, NEVER ignore persistent knee pain in a child, as there are specific & serious diseases to this age group which have to be excluded.


Sever's disease

Otherwise known as 'calcaneal apophysitis', this usually affects kids between the ages of 8 to 16, with boy more affected than girls.
The cause is usually a sport involving repetitive impact on the heel or intensive use & development of the calf muscles.  Like tightened guy ropes these muscles then pull harder at the areas they attach onto the heel. 

This attachment point is on the bone's surface, an area called the 'growth plate'.  This is where new cells are formed to make the child's bone grow, but it also happens to be the softest area, so it's vulnerable to being pulled away from the bone by the tight muscle.  A growth spurt can also make matters worse.

Our heels are not bony from birth.  The body creates the bone for the heel from two centres on the heel, so that with time bone spreads out from each centre to eventually cover the whole area. But until then, the two centres are connected by cartilage.  This too can become overstretched by heavy use. 

Our assessment will see if there are any other factors contributing to the problem (such as weak foot arches), or an imbalance in the pelvis or a long leg, all of which can add pressure to the painful heel. 

Your kid's sport or activities may need to be changed to allow recovery to happen and so that more bone can be manufactured.  In some cases a heel pad may help.

With the appropriate changes in activity and treatment, Sever's will normally get better (slowly!) over several months.


Jill and Chris were both trained in the U.K and started Osteoworks back in 2004 when they moved to N.Z from London with their son.