World Pediatric bone and Joint (PB&J) DayWorld PB&J Day is here to highlight the impact of musculoskeletal conditions on children and educate healthcare providers and the public about children’s musculoskeletal health issues.
Here is some useful information from Pediatric Physical Therapist, Maureen Suhr that could help you to understand more about PB&J and helpful tips.
Don’t ignore a limp: Limping in a child or adolescent is a sign of pain or pathology. If a limp persists more than 24-48 hours it is worth seeing your pediatrician or pediatric orthopedist, regardless of whether or not a child complains of pain.
Bones grow faster than muscles: Because bones grow faster than muscles, children and adolescents tend to get asymmetrical forces about their joints during growth spurts. When an active child goes through a growth spurt, his muscles suddenly become much tighter and less flexible. Additionally, in a growing child, the tendons tend to be stronger than the growing bone. This puts him/her at risk for an avulsion fracture. A sports injury that would likely result in a muscle strain in an adult, may result in an avulsion fracture (injury where a tendon pulls off a small piece of bone from its attachment) in an adolescent. Treatment typically involves pain management, possibly with crutches, and rest with gradual restoration of flexibility and strength.
Be aware of the potential for stress fractures: It is common today for children and adolescents to specialize in one sport early on. This increases their potential for overuse injuries like tendonitis or stress fractures, which are small breaks in the bone that are typically not displaced. They are particularly common in high-impact sports such as long distance running or gymnastics and tend to be common in females. Female athletes who train at a high level may present with the female triad of poor nutrition, absent menstrual cycles, and weak bones, which predisposes them to stress fracture. As parents and coaches we need to remember the importance of balanced nutrition and balanced training (cross training).
Knee pain doesn’t always mean a knee injury: Sometimes, as is the case of knee pain in a child or adolescent, it’s not always what it seems. Pain in the knee may be referred from the nerves in the hip. In a child between the ages of 4-9 years of age, it may be due to Legg-Calve-Perthes disease which is degeneration of the top of the thigh bone where it inserts in the hip socket. This is a serious condition which may lead to significant loss of motion and potential deformity if left unchecked. Another serious hip condition that presents in adolescents typically between the ages of 10-15 years of age is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (SCFE). This also presents with a limp, with the child’s foot turned out, and referred pain to the knee. Symptoms may come on gradually over a few months or it may occur suddenly with severe pain limiting the child’s ability to walk altogether. With SCFE, the growth plate on the top of the thigh bone separates from the shaft of the bone. Again, if left untreated, serious and debilitating consequences may occur including pain and arthritis.