Start the winter sports season in full swing
The winter sporting season is about to launch into full swing. While parents become accustomed to cold mornings cheering on the sport’s field, it’s also a change of pace at The Urban Physio. At this time of year we see an increase in children with playground injuries or issues caused by competitive sports, dancing or simply monkeying around.
Kids are by nature drawn to injury-inducing activities, especially due to over-using their lower limbs. And while all ages are susceptible to overload injuries, growing children and adolescents are more vulnerable.
Why? Children have immature tissue located at the end of their growing bones. These are active at various stages of a child’s growth helping bones to expand in length before closing and maturing into normal bone between the ages of 16 to 19. Due to their immaturity, growth plates are vulnerable to injury from repetitive stress and strain. And because many of the growth plates in the lower limbs have powerful muscles attached on or near them, tension from these muscles can cause inflammation known as Apophysitis.
Common conditions include:
This is caused by inflammation at the heel bone growth plate and can affect one or both heels. Essentially the mighty calf muscles pull on the Achilles tendon which causes irritation at the growth plate in the heel, resulting in pain where the Achilles tendon attaches to the calf muscle.
Caused by inflammation under the knee cap, Osgood-Schlatter disease results in knee pain where the patella tendon attaches, affecting one or both knees. What happens here is that the powerful quadriceps muscle in the thigh pulls on the patella tendon causing irritation at the growth plate under the knee cap.
But wait – there’s good news
These conditions will improve with physiotherapy treatment and relative rest. As your child grows, the growth plate will eventually mature and they will no longer experience symptoms.
Knowing when to consult a Physio is often the more difficult part. Physiotherapy can be effective in eliminating pain. In more severe cases, we aim to reduce pain to a manageable level so that the child can continue participating in the sports they love.
As Physios, we have a number of effective ways to treat these conditions. These include:
- Techniques to offload the painful area, including taping and heel raises
- Advising load management and rest
- A biomechanical assessment and correction
- Specific strengthening programmes
- Helping soft tissue release of the calves and other areas of tightness
- Assisting with gentle stretches (as overstretching can exacerbate the condition)
- Recommending an ice massage over the heel with Voltaren gel underneath
- Supporting the foot with the appropriate footwear for sports activities.
Don’t let your children become casualties before they have a chance to show their sporting prowess this season. If you’re concerned about their pain levels, click below to make an appointment or call 09 216 7799 to discuss how The Urban Physio can support your wellness for an urban lifestyle.