Knee pain in children can be caused by overuse, or an imbalance in muscle strength and inflexibility.
The anatomy of a child’s knee joint is sensitive to problems in alignment and training. Pressure may pull the kneecap sideways out of its groove, causing pain around the kneecap.
A direct blow can also cause knee pain and damage ligaments and tendons, causing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury. These often happen during sports such as netball, football and skiing. ACL or PCL surgery may be required to treat these injuries.
Children can also have knee pain because of a growth-related disease called osteochondritis.
This group of conditions, which causes pain and disability, affects the growing skeleton of a child or adolescent and the surfaces of the joints (cartilage) in the knee. The diseases interrupt the blood supply to a bone which results in bone death (necrosis) and later regrowth of the bone.
Types of osteochondritis include Osgood-Schlatter disease and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome. In most cases, the treatment for these conditions is rest and painkillers. Surgery is only recommended in a small number of cases.
Common shoulder and elbow injuries in children include fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains.
Elbow fractures occur from a break in one or more of the bones of the elbow joint. The three bones are called humerus, radius and ulna.
Fractures can be caused by children falling on an outstretched arm, a direct blow or an abnormal twist.
Non-surgical treatment can include the use of a splint or sling. Surgery is required for severe and displaced fractures.
Shoulder dislocations are prevalent in sports such as cycling and gymnastics. The shoulder is the most versatile joint in the body, moving in many different directions. A sudden force to the shoulder can cause the top of the upper arm bone (humerus) to pop out of the socket of the shoulder blade (scapula).
Once a shoulder is dislocated, it will be prone to further dislocations. Surgery is required if there is damage to the nerves, blood vessels, tendons and/or ligaments.