Growing Pains vs. Cancer: Why You Should Take Your Kid’s Knee Pain Seriously

By Dr. Joseph Horrigan | The Huffington Post  | View Full Article

In Dr. Joseph Horrigan’s latest article for Huffington Post, he discusses the dangers of knee pain in children.  Some kids, usually between 9-16 years old, can develop Osgood-Schlatter’s disease or syndrome, which develops because of rapid growth and too much training.  A young athlete who is training and jumping too much can trigger the syndrome.  The problem arises when the long bones rapidly grow during a growth spurt, paired with the forceful contractions of the large muscles in the front of the thigh (quadriceps muscle).  This pulls it’s attachment on the bump on the front of the lower leg bone (tibia), below the knee cap (patella).  Since the child is still growing, the bone is not mature yet and not very strong so when the attachment is repeatedly pulled, it can cause injuries.   Once the growth spurt slows down and the training load is reduced, the pain will disappear.

Another cause of knee pain in children can arise from osteosarcoma, or bone cancer.  Osteosarcoma occurs in young people, up to age 30.  It is a very malignant type of cancer and can spread quickly.  Symptoms you should be aware of include: if your child tells you their knee hurts at night, or if they wake up at night because of pain in their knee. Osteosarcoma can occur in the femur, tibia, humerus, pelvis, jaw and skull, but 60% of the cases occur in the knee.

Click here to read Dr. Horrigan’s entire piece on Huffington Post.