Knee pain in adolescent athletes
Our children are participating in sports year-round and this may be a cause for increased injuries among adolescent athletes. Unfortunately, along with increased participation comes decreased attention to injury prevention and proper stretching. The hamstrings are a large muscle group on the back of the thigh that are susceptible to tightness due to over activity. Tight hamstrings may cause hip, back and knee pain if ignored. Always seek proper medical attention to determine diagnosis and therapy plan.
Recently, my 9 year old daughter was complaining of bilateral knee pain. I noticed she was limping during her soccer games, but like a good dad I shrugged it off. She began wrapping ice bags on her knees before bed and like a good dad I thought she was over reacting a little. This went on for about a week, and my wife finally asked if we should have her see a doctor friend. Since I have 22 years of treating athletic injuries, I thought maybe it was a good idea to assess her knees.
She really could not pinpoint her pain, but described the pain as “all around the knee”. During the assessment I noticed her hamstrings were extremely tight for a 9 year old girl. I immediately implemented a stretching program and she had relief within a couple of days. We continue to stretch before and after activities, and we taught her to stretch on her own. She continues to participate with no pain and no limp as long as she stretches.
Self stretch vs partner stretch
Part of my job is to show people the appropriate stretches to do on their own. However, in children this becomes difficult, because they simply will not do it. For better results,I recommend helping your child stretch in addition to them stretching on their own. See the video below for ways to help your child stretch.