Growing conditions in young adolescence…

by | 18 Jul 2019

(Osgood-Schlatter disease, Severs Disease and Scheurmanns disease)

Recently we have seen a number of young patients attend our clinic with growth related conditions. We thought we would share with you a number of these that occur in young adolescence’s during their growth spurts (around 10 – 15 years of age) & what to look out for if you think your child might have one of these conditions.

All these conditions can be diagnosed by an allied health professional by asking the child to describe their symptoms and by conducting a physical examination. Further tests (concluding X-rays) may be requested thereafter.

Osgood – Schlatter Disease
Osgood – Schlatter disease is a common cause of pain in front of the knee in late childhood and early adolescence. It is more common in boys.
The condition often occurs in children who are highly active, particularly in sports involving running and jumping. Repeated running and jumping leads to a small injury where the thigh muscle attaches to the shin bone just below the knee cap. This causes a painful lump.

Symptoms of this syndrome can include:

  • Pain in one or both knees
  • Pain on running, or going up or down stairs
  • Pain that eases with rest
  • A swollen tibial tuberosity
  • Red & inflamed skin
  • Pain when straightening the knee or squatting

Sever’s Disease

Sever’s disease is a common cause of heel pain, particularly in the young and physically active. It usually develops around puberty. Boys are slightly more likely to have this condition than girls. The cause is generally due to over use or change in height & weight which impacts on the heel.

The Achilles tendon joins the calf muscle at the back of the leg to the heel bone. Sever’s disease is thought to occur because the growth area where the Achilles tendon attaches to the bone is ‘active’.  This means it is beginning to change from cartilage to bone.

A few signs and symptoms point to Sever’s disease, which may affect one or both heels, include:

  • heel pain during physical exercise, especially activities that require running or jumping
  • worsening of pain after exercise
  • limping – often in the morning, or during or after sport
  • a tendency to tiptoe

For both of the above conditions, treatment is aimed at relieving the painful symptoms until growing finishes. Consult your local Physiotherapist for the optimal treatment plan for your child as each child will present differently and require an individual approach.

Scheuermann’s Disease
(also known as Sherman’s Disease, Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, Calve Disease and Juvenile Osteochondrosis of the spine)

In adolescents, bones are still maturing, including the vertebrae of the spine. Scheuermann’s disease refers to an abnormality in the growth of the vertebrae, where the front of the vertebrae does not grow as quickly as the back leading to wedging of the vertebrae, leading to a “hunchback”or slouching posture.

The cause of Scheuermann’s disease is unknown, however it has a tendency to run in families. It develops in adolescence and is more common in boys than girls.

To determine if a child’s round-shouldered posture is due to Scheuermann’s disease, the child bends forward while the spine is viewed from the side. In Scheuermann’s disease, the lower thoracic spine comes to a sharp point, rather than just a normal smooth curve.

Treated with physiotherapy to decrease back pain and stiffness, and improve upper and lower limb flexibility.


Should you be concerned that your child might have any of the above, please contact our office today and book in for a consultation.

Make an Appointment