As children grow, their bodies undergo numerous changes, sometimes leading to specific growth-related conditions that can cause pain and discomfort. Two common conditions that affect adolescents are Sever's Disease and Osgood-Schlatter Disease. The good news is they are treatable and there are ways to make adolescent growth spurts more comfortable. Let's explore the conditions and how physiotherapy can help your child stay active and pain-free.

What is Sever's Disease?
Sever's Disease, also known as calcaneal apophysitis, is a common cause of heel pain in growing children, particularly those who are physically active. It occurs when the growth plate in the heel becomes inflamed due to repetitive stress or overuse.

Common Signs of Sever's Disease:

  • Pain and tenderness in the heel, especially during or after physical activity
  • Swelling and redness in the heel area
  • Limping or walking on tiptoes to avoid putting pressure on the heel
  • Stiffness in the foot upon waking up

What is Osgood-Schlatter Disease?
Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a condition that causes pain and swelling below the knee joint, where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone (tibia). It is most commonly seen in adolescents who are experiencing growth spurts and are actively involved in sports.

Common Signs of Osgood-Schlatter Disease:

  • Pain and tenderness below the knee
  • Swelling at the tibial tuberosity (the bony prominence below the knee)
  • Increased pain with activities like running, jumping, and climbing stairs
  • A noticeable bump below the kneecap

How Physiotherapy Can Help
Physiotherapy is a highly effective treatment for both Sever's Disease and Osgood-Schlatter Disease. Here’s how physiotherapy can benefit your child:

  1. Comprehensive Assessment and Diagnosis

    A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to accurately diagnose the condition and determine its severity. This includes evaluating your child’s range of motion, strength, and gait.

  2. Personalized Exercise Programs

    Physiotherapists design personalised programs for your child’s specific needs. These typically include:

    a. Stretching Exercises: To improve flexibility and reduce tension in the affected areas. For Sever's Disease, this may involve stretching the calf muscles and Achilles tendon. For Osgood-Schlatter Disease, stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings is often beneficial.

    b. Strengthening Exercises: To build strength in the muscles surrounding the affected joints, providing better support and reducing stress on the growth plates.

  3. Activity Modification and Education

    Physiotherapists provide guidance on modifying activities to reduce pain and prevent further injury. This may include advice on proper footwear, using heel pads or knee supports, and avoiding high-impact activities temporarily.

  4. Pain Management Techniques

    Physiotherapists use various techniques to manage pain and inflammation, such as ice therapy, and manual therapy. These treatments can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing.

  5. Postural and Gait Training

    Improving posture and gait can help reduce the stress on the affected areas. Physiotherapists work with your child to correct any biomechanical issues that may contribute to their condition.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Sever's Disease and Osgood-Schlatter Disease

  • Pain Relief: Effective management of pain and discomfort, allowing your child to return to normal activities.
  • Improved Flexibility and Strength: Enhanced muscle flexibility and strength around the affected areas, promoting better joint support.
  • Reduced Risk of Recurrence: Education on activity modification and proper techniques can help prevent future episodes.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Improved ability to participate in sports and daily activities without pain.

So, what next?
Sever's Disease and Osgood-Schlatter Disease are common adolescent growth conditions that can cause significant discomfort and impact your child's ability to stay active. Fortunately, physiotherapy offers effective treatments to manage these conditions and promote healthy development.

At Hollyburn Physiotherapy, some of our physiotherapists are trained specially to treat pediatric conditions. If your child is experiencing symptoms of Sever's Disease or Osgood-Schlatter Disease, reach out to us. Schedule an appointment today and let us help your child get back to their active, pain-free self.

Nazly Naseri

Nazly Naseri

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