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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What could cause knee pain in the lower patella in 10 year old gymnast?

    My 10 y.o. daughter is a competitive gymnast. She has been complaining of gradually worsening pain in her knee around the lower patella, which starts after training for an hour or so. What's the likely diagnosis? Should we see a sports physician or a physio? Thank you.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Tim Cottman - Fields

    Exercise Physiologist, Physiotherapist

    Tim is considered a movement specialist - using exercise, education and hands on therapy as his main treatments, helping everyone achieve optimal function. His interests … View Profile


    Based off your question, it sounds like a condition called ‘Siding Larsen Johansson Syndrome’ which is a common injury in (skeletally immature) young athletes.  It is essentially a ‘growing injury’ and will definitely resolve after the next stage of bone development, however rehabilitation is usually undertaken to relieve pain and improve symptoms.

    You won’t need to see a Sports Physician unless you have a good one you usually see. A Physio is absolutely fine and is less expensive. As this is a common injury it may be diagnosed clinically, although an x-ray/ MRI may be needed to rule out other conditions.
    One of the most frustrating aspects about conditions to the epiphyseal or growth plate is that they are self-limiting… getting young active kids to rest can be a challenge.

    All the best,

  • 1




    Dr Andrew Lim


    Andrew has a Masters in Chiropractic and his interest in Sports Chiropractic has led him to treat many athletes from junior to elite levels in … View Profile

    It is always going to be a challenge to diagnose a condition based only on the information at hand. I would strongly suggest you to take your daugther to a health professional that deals with sports injuries for a proper assessment and examination.

    The diagnosis of the knee pain is important, but I think that working out the functional diagnosis is more important i.e. why the knee pain presented in the first place. The problem is that there are lots of things that may contribute to your daugthers knee pain. To name a few; feet problems, hip problems, hamstring and or quad strength issues.

    Only a health professional with a keen eye for mechanical dysfunction will be able to identify the functional diagnosis and then put in place a treatment paln to resolve the problem.

    Hope this helps, if you would life any more information please send me an email.


  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    You may find rock tape of interest

  • Adrian Quinn


    Adrian started the Hartwell Physio practice in 2007. Born and raised in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, he completed his Bachelor of Physiotherapy at La … View Profile

    As Tim suggested, the most common cause of this sort of pain in adolescents is due to the "growth" plate of the patella not yet being fully fused/knitted together. There are other possibilities though (poor tracking/movement of the patella etc.) so proper examination from a physio or other health professional to get an accurate diagnosis is important. The most appropriate management plan can then be devised - which again as Tim has highlighted may require a period of reduced gymnastics.

    Good luck!

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