Knee Problems in 14 year old

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Hi, my 14 yo niece has had some knee problems for the past year or 2 and recently, she got much worse to the point she can barely walk, and has terrible pain in her knees.

She's doing physiotherapy, but it doesn't seem to be helping at all, seems to be actually making her worse. One of then doctors that saw her changed the kind of physiotherapy she was doing, but still doesn't work.

We're at a loss, unable to understand why a 14 year old is now unable to walk, and the doctors seeing her seem to not have any answers either.

I'm wondering if anyone here has any advice of what it might be, or what to discuss with the doctor next time she goes there. Maybe asking the right questions will allow them to give some answers, or spark some idea in the doctor for something else to try.

Can it be bad nutrition? She did blood tests and everything doctors asked to check was normal, but is there any test that is uncommon or expensive so doctors tend not to ask for it at first? She was a picky eater as a child, not so much as a child.

She used to be tiny as a child and when she reached puberty, she grew up a lot, to then point she's one of the tallest people in the family. Can it be that? She grew up so fast that her body couldn't adapt? If so, what can be done to correct it and reduce her pain and inability to walk?

Some people in my family are afraid it's some degenerative disease, but honestly I think that's a stretch. Wouldn't it affect other parts of her body besides the knees if it was that?

Should she continue physiotherapy, if it causes her so much pain? I'm guessing stopping making exercise is worse in long term, but is there anything else to make her more comfortable?

Should we take her to a private doctor for a while, to get a second opinion and maybe get things moving a bit faster than in public? We're in Portugal, and although doctors in public sector can be really good, the system is slow. Private would be expensive, by if it makes her better, could be worth it.

Sorry for all the ramble, just don't know what to do anymore.

Any help / advice would be most welcome.


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  • Posted

    I am not a doctor and please don’t presume it is this, but my daughter has had problems with her knee since she was 14, now 15 and the doctor and physio said it was Chondromalacia patellae which affects teenage girls/young ladies and affects the area behind the patella.  It can last from a few weeks to 6 months we were told and with physio, ice and rest (no exercise for a while) & taping up when exercising after 6 weeks she is much better now.  

    Obviously ask doctor/physio as it may not be this condition. But wish you luck either way!  

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  • Posted


    your poor niece ☹️  Not good at any age but this is an important stage in anyone’s life.  Has she had any ultrasounds?  I know when I first started getting problems with one of my knees, that I had a torn meniscus, twice!!  Very, very painful.  This can happen quite easily.  They found my tear with an ultrasound.  Mine was caused by my very physical job. 

    this is just a guess.  Don’t take my word for it.  Sharon’s opinion sounds feasible too.  I hope it all works out for your niece Best wishes

    Sue X

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  • Posted

    Young people can develop symptoms similar to this when they are going through rapid growth stages. The joints are not maturing as rapidly as the child is changing and it can be debilitating for a period of time. I would suggest getting her to a pediatric orthopaedic Dr, preferably at a children's hospital if possible.

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  • Posted

    Has she been tested for rheumatoid arthritis? People think it's a disease of the old, but not so. Growing up I was friends with a boy who has RA & was diagnosed at 11, after some time I might add! 

    Just an idea.



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  • Posted

    Has she been evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon?  Stop trying to self-diagnose her.  See an ortho...immediately and get the imaging done.  Since you don't know what you're dealing with, any delay might be making it worse.  Appointment...tomorrow!!!!!

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