Causes and Treatment for Knee Pain in Toddlers


Authored by Kate Beswick in Child and Teen Health 
Published on 06-12-2009

Knee pain in toddlers can be a very confusing and frustrating problem for parents. Toddlers don’t always have the communication skills to tell their parents where it hurts or what the pain feels like. Because of this, it can be difficult for parents to even locate the area of the pain. Once you’ve determined that it’s the knee that is hurting, it can be even more frustrating because knee pain is difficult to diagnose on your own. If you can’t diagnose it, you can’t treat it. Luckily, knee pain in toddlers is more common than you would think. Here is a list of the common causes and treatments for knee pain in toddlers:

Osgood-Schlatter Disease

This is a disease that can occur in any child who is growing at a rapid rate. Osgood-Schlatter disease is a disease that affects the muscles behind the knee cap. The problem is that the bones are growing at a faster rate than the muscle, and this can cause a lot of irritation. Sometimes a bony bump may be visible on the knee and the area will always be sensitive to the touch. Although this is a condition that’s closely associated with growing and development, it’s more serious than what’s thought of as regular growing pains. Doctors can prescribe medication to help treat it and make the child more comfortable.


Toddlers are busy little ones and so it’s no wonder that all the jumping and running they do can sometimes wreak havoc on their little knees. If this is the case, having your child participate in quiet and low-key activities for a few days should be all that’s needed to help. Ibuprofen can be taken to help relieve the pain. If your toddler is involved with sports of any kind such as soccer or baseball, you might want to take a few minutes to stretch with them before they play. You can also ice the area afterwards if they’re complaining of knee pain.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is a disease that usually doesn’t affect children until they hit the age of 6 but can sometimes be seen in younger children such as toddlers. If there is a history of the disease in the family, it’s even more likely that a child will get it at an earlier age. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to send out toxins to kill harmful bacteria and viruses. The body does this when it cannot differentiate between healthy and harmful cells. There are many different treatments for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. They mostly consist of prescription medication, exercise, and physical therapy.

Growing Pains

Growing pains is considered to be an inconclusive diagnosis because it’s really a diagnosis that’s made when all other possibilities have been explored and eliminated. There actually is no scientific proof that growing pains is a condition that actually exists. However, at times during a child’s growth period, such as when toddlers are growing quickly, the growth process of the bones may cause some pain. In these cases, usually some ibuprofen will help to ease the pain.


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