One of the concerns the parents of growing children may be faced with is Osgood-Schlatter disease. See Wikipedia for a more detailed explanation at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osgood-Schlatter_disease.
Simply explained, this condition typically occurs in children that have overpronated feet (feet that flare out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foot_type#Overpronation) and that are typically flat. The reason I explain that it is extreme shin splints is because the cause is similar. Overpronated feet that flare out,cause undue stress on the shin muscles (peroneals and Tibialis
anterior and posterior). In children who are built this way, and who have a big growth spurt, the strain of the growth spurt, with the poor and inefficient body mechanics results in the tibial tuberosity (bump at front of shin that the tendon of the patella inserts into – see photo to right) to begin to pull away from the stress, causing the characteristic bump on the shin.
The problem with the condition is that foot overpronation and flat feet are easy to diagnose and easy to treat with off the shelf foot orthotics which are inexpensive and myofascial release to the shin and calf muscles which can make a world of difference in the level of pain experienced, the amount of tension that exists at the tibial plateau from the muscles and the eventual bump.
It has the exact same cause that shin splints has and can be treated the same way. The typical interaction is for the child to be taken to pediatrician, who names it and usually sends the child to the orthopedic. They typically never check the childs feet, often initially call it growing pains and then tell you it will eventually be outgrown. The problem is, that the proactive parent can intervene on their own with off the shelf inserts as well as having their child looked at by a different type of health care practitioner who is more holistic. Holistic doctors tend to look at more than just the shin pain, because, by the definition, they will look at the entire picture. Perhaps, this is why more and more child athletes are visiting sports certified chiropractors who are more holistic in their approach, will perform the muscle work and will recommend the inserts. Most people do not know where to go other than their classically trained pediatrician. There are other options which you now know about from this article which you may not have previously discovered. If you are wondering where to find such a practitioner, a good place to start is the local high school certified athletic trainer and sometimes the local chapter of USA Track and Field will have someone they have worked with that understands gait (the way we walk).
To successfully intervene, you must also look at their gait, buy them the right running shoes and have them looked at with the proper set of eyes. Our office treats many people who had the condition when they were younger and quite honestly, those children who had it now get shin pain when running because the cause is the same. Shin splints and Osgood-Schlatter disease are actually, just symptoms of a larger gait issue and while, people want relief, a knowledgeable provider will also look at the pelvis, the knees, the hips and how everything moves. Not doing so will surely allow for additional problems to develop which can be caught early. The conditions usually include:
1. Back pain
2. Neck pain
3. IT band issues
4. Plantar fascitis
5. Pulled muscles
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