When to See a Specialist for Your Child’s Knee Pain

Child with knee painChildren fall, overdo it playing sports, combined with bending, climbing, and stretching the wrong way. Sometimes they may complain about it, and then never mention it again. But other times the pain becomes severe and doesn’t go away. It is important to know when to see a specialist for your child’s knee pain.

Red Swollen Knees

If your child’s knee is red or swollen, this is concerning. If it feels warm to the touch, these symptoms could mean inflammation or infection is present. Swollen knees could also be a form of arthritis. Is your child limping? In this case, it would be wise to bring your child to see The Orthopaedic Center.

If the Pain Keeps Your Child up at Night

If your child complains of pain early in the evening or before bedtime, this could be nothing more serious than “growing pains.” These occur in older kids and teens, and in this case it is due to the wear and tear of the day and nothing to worry about. They will wake up in the morning feeling fine.

On the other hand, if pain is waking them up at night, this is something more serious and your child should be seen by The Orthopaedic Center right away to assess their condition.

If the Pain Seems to Be Chronic

Chronic knee pain is quite common in kids. They may experience pain on and off for a number of weeks. There may be no redness or limping, but they’ll often say that it still hurts. Pain in the lower part of the knee is most likely a temporary ligament stress of the top of the shinbone. It can be from overuse, imbalance in muscle strength, or a growth related disease called Osgood Schlatter disease. Talk with The Orthopaedic Center about treatments.

If the pain is located on the outside of the knee, it comes from repeated stress causing the tissue on the side of the thigh to become inflamed. This particular type of injury is especially common with runners. Invest in good shoes, suggest warm up stretches, and advise your child to rest in order to relieve the pain.

A third type of chronic pain in kids can be deep in the knee under the kneecap. This is a common overuse injury. Squatting and climbing usually makes the pain worse.

Visit The Orthopaedic Center

All three of these chronic issues can be dealt with through physical therapy or handled at home. Rest, ice packs, taking a break from activities, and taking ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medications are all excellent at home treatments to try at the first signs of knee pain. If after two weeks the pain persists, it’s time for your child to see The Orthopaedic Center.

After an Accident or Trauma

Any impact injury causing swelling, redness, and pain should be checked out by a physician. Use ice packs to reduce swelling and use your best judgement regarding your child’s injury to determine if a visit to the ER is warranted. When in doubt, practice RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Clear signs of when to see a specialist for your child’s knee pain include the following:

  • Fever
  • Pain that lasts over 2 weeks
  • Pain in the morning
  • Weakness in the knees
  • Limping
  • A red swollen joint

If you have concerns about your child’s knee pain, The Orthopaedic Center has two board-certified Pediatric Orthopaedic Physicians that specialize in the treatment of pediatric knee pain. Learn more about our Pediatric Doctors or request an appointment online.

Dr. Buckley
Dr. Michael G. Lawley
Dr. Lawley