If your kids are playing football as a lot are, complaints of knee and heel pain are common….Don’t stress, there is a solution.
Dr Sami Karam – Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Some people still call it soccer, but seeing as I love the round ball game just as much as you do, I’ll refer to it as Football.
Kid’s in pain?
When kids complain of pain so they can get out of school, parents are generally wary of their mischievous little minds. But when your child complains of pain after playing football, a sport they love…you better PAY ATTENTION!
“YOUR SON IS OVERTRAINING!” I say to most parents.
My son isn’t overtraining you say…YES, he is. What parents fail to realize is on top of the 2-3 sessions of organized club football they play, there are also 1-2 sessions of organized school football.
And on top of that, they’re usually running around every school recess and lunchtime chasing either a ball or another person 5 days per week.
That’s 10 sessions of high impact activity EVERY WEEK…with little rest period between. Oh, and if he/she is any good at football then they’re usually in a specialist football academy too…so add another 2 sessions!
What doctors often refer to as “growing pains” are actually definable injuries that don’t have to stop your kids from playing football.
They are treatable with more than just “rest” and often kids can continue to enjoy their playing through the treatment.
Here’s what you need to know about kids pain:
- Osgood Schlatters (knee) and Sever’s Disease (heel) are two of the most commonly seen conditions referred to as “growing pains”. The sources of pain are inflamed growth plates just below the knee and under the heel. The cause is usually overtraining and growth spurts.
- Treatment is usually the difference between recurring pain and proper recovery. Contrary to what you may hear in the mainstream, treatment is effective and can actually lead to better performance on the field.
- Don’t fear…. There are many self-management strategies that are simple and effective. Since it may be their first experience with injury, one positive is that it will teach your kids the discipline required to overcome injury.
The problem with kids growing pains
These conditions happen due to the growth plates in their bones being soft. As their muscles work hard, they pull on the soft bone and cause inflammation.
Generally speaking the harder the surface and the more running they do, the greater the likely hood they will suffer from pain.
What you don’t know is kids will not tell you they are in pain until it’s too late, out of fear of not being able to play with their friends.
It’s amazing how many times a parent brings a child to treatment for an unrelated injury and we find that they are in extreme pain in either their heels or their knees.
Parents are usually shocked and are in disbelief why the child has kept it from them.
Treatment usually consists of releasing a lot of the tissue tension they have in their body and making sure they’re moving well through their spine and limbs.
We run the child through the relevant stretches they need to be doing at home and it’s surprising how little stretching is done out on the field.
We also teach parent and child proper icing techniques as they will be valuable in a quick recovery. Most mainstream advice is to stop playing football and rest.
I can comfortably say that in over 12 years of treating these conditions, no young footballer we’ve treated has ever had to stop participating due to “growing pains.”
Getting the quickest and most effective results often come through collaboration between the practitioner and the patient.
The most basic self-management techniques will come down to stretching and icing the affected area.
This is usually the young footballer’s first encounter with taking some kind of responsibility for their own recovery. And the journey is just as important as the result.
It will likely be the first time they will summon some form of discipline to achieve a result.
It will likely be the first time they will suffer a setback that they need to overcome.
And taken with the right attitude it will provide a massive opportunity for character growth, building self-esteem, and confidence.
So, take a minute, and ask your child if they feel pain during or after football. Because they don’t have to.
A bit about the Author
Dr. Sami Karam
A little extra about me. I’ve been a qualified Osteopath since 2004. I’ve been playing football ever since I could remember and I have a passion for it. I’ve played at the highest level in the NSW State League at both Youth and Senior levels, and have also been Head Physician at numerous State League Clubs. I’ve travelled internationally and consulted with Sports academies in Barcelona and Italy. I have a special interest in Strength and Conditioning for footballers, as I believe it gives them an edge in their physical competition. My passion involves bringing all of this knowledge into every single treatment that I provide for all athletes. If you feel that I can help you and want to reach out to me, just click here.