The Best Shoes for Kids with Osgood-Schlatter Disease – What a Difference these Shoes Make!
Does your child wake up in the middle of the night complaining about knee pain? Has your child been complaining about knee pain and was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD)? This condition involves the swelling and irritation of the growth plate at the top of the shinbone and it usually happens in kids that are between the ages of 9 to 14 years old. I am not a medical professional, but I know which are the best shoes for kids with Osgood-Schlatter Disease since I have been fitting children’s shoes for many years.
Between the ages of 9 and 14, it is most important for children to participate in sports to develop good balance, fitness and social skills. However, children who are involved in sports that require high-impact activities put additional stress on bones and muscles, and they are the ones who are at increased risk for this condition. With that said, less active kids may also experience this condition.
OSD is an overuse injury –it happens when a child does the same movements over and over again– it presents as a painful bump just below the child’s knees.
There are certain steps that you can take to significantly reduce or fully eliminate your child’s knee pain. The most effective ones that I have seen is wearing a pair of supportive shoes and orthotics. I actually recommend parents to start by trying a pair of supportive shoes and if the pain doesn’t reduce then I recommend trying a pair of orthotics.
Don’t Take the “Wait and See Approach” – Be Proactive!
When children complain about foot, knee, or leg pain, pediatricians seem to always assume that they are just “growing pains” that will eventually go away. I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their kids’ foot conditions, as waiting for the issue to resolve on its own can lead to the condition getting worse.
There are cases of OSD in which the child needs to take one or two days of rest to deal with the pain. This condition can be very painful and limit the child’s sporting activity while they are waiting for it to go away, in some instances making them feel like “throwing in the towel”. I know this because I have helped several families who came to the shoe store with children who were ready to quit playing their favorite sports.
The correct type of shoes allows children to perform their normal activities, including sports, as long as they are fitted properly and provide the correct amount of support. You won’t believe what a difference the correct pair of shoes can make in helping treat this condition. This is the reason why I believe that telling children to rest and wait for the condition to go away on its own is simply poor advice.
Did you know that taller children and children with flat feet are at greater risk to develop Osgood-Schlatter Disease? When children have flat feet, their feet tend to collapse inwards which shifts their whole body out of alignment. This pulls the knees inwards and causes an unnecessary pull on the patella tendon – which is what connects the kneecap to the shinbone.
Before I show you a selection of the best shoes for kids with Osgood-Schlatter disease, let’s take a look at the most common symptoms of this condition and what features your kids’ shoes must provide.
The 4 Most Common Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter Disease
- Your child’s knee pain increases with sports or activity.
- Your child wakes up at night complaining about knee pain.
- Swelling and/or tenderness along the top of the shinbone at the growth plate.
- A bony bump at the top of the shinbone.
Wearing the correct type of shoes and orthotics is going to allow children to keep doing their everyday activities, which is going to help your child maintain strength in the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, which is an important part of the recovery.
Let’s take a look at what features your kids’ shoes must provide to help treat OSD.
Shoes for Osgood-Schlatter Disease – 3 Key Features
These are the 3 most important features that your kids’ shoes must provide to help treat OSD:
1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature helps reduce the impact that your kids’ feet take when they become in contact with the ground. Certain shoes provide extra padding and targeted support to certain areas of the foot. Always look for shoes that come with a thick and supportive outsole. Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial sole versus a shoe with a sole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:
2️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: The heel counter is the part of the shoe that provides ankle support, and the firmer it is, the better. If you are not sure where the heel counter of the shoe is located, please take a look at the picture below for clarification:
Shoes that come with a firm heel counter are going to minimize the impact that your child’s heels take every time they become in contact with the ground. Always press on the heel counter of your kids’ shoes before buying them to make sure it feels firm and not soft.
Below you can find the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter and one with a firm heel counter:
3️⃣ Shoelaces vs Velcro Closure: I always recommend shoes that come with shoelaces instead of shoes that come with Velcro closure for kids who need extra support from their shoes. The shoelaces are going to provide your child with better support and stability.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best shoes for kids with Osgood-Schlatter Disease.
I only review shoes that I have fitted before, as that’s the only way for me to tell the amount of support that the shoes provide, how well-made they are, and how they fit. Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases.
Best Shoes for Kids with Osgood-Schlatter Disease
The shoes below are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW).
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
If your child has narrow feet please do not hesitate to contact me directly and I will recommend specific shoe styles that are capable of accommodating a narrow foot: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape
If you want to be 100% sure about what shoe size to order online, I suggest that you follow the instructions in a different resource I created.
Sport Shoes for Kids with OSD
The impact on the knee from playing sports can aggravate OSD. Well-fitting, properly cushioned sport shoes that absorb impact are really effective in helping treat this condition.
If your child is involved in a particular sport and needs extra support from the cleats or sport shoes I recommend that you take a look at a different article I wrote where I describe the best sport shoes for children. In that article you will find a selection of the best sport shoes for kids in terms of support and fit. The sport shoes described in that article are capable of fitting children with medium, wide, or extra wide feet:
Always make sure that your child stretches properly before starting any sort of physical activity.
Orthotics for Kids – Let’s Support Your Child’s Knees!
If after trying the shoes that I recommend for 2 months your child’s knee pain persists, then I recommend fitting an orthotic inside your kids’ shoes for extra support. An orthotic is a shoe insert that is designed to provide cushioning, support, and stability, and to relieve pressure areas of the foot.
The correct type of orthotics is going to align your child’s feet and improve your child’s overall posture. This will prevent the knees from turning inwards and prevent unnecessary pull on the patella tendon.
Several parents have asked me how long can Osgood-Schlatter disease last. This condition usually goes away when the bones stop growing, and this is when the child is between 14 and 18 years old. OSD is self-recovering – it will go away completely when the two parts of bony growth join together. There are no known long-term complications associated with Osgood Schlatters disease.
Have you found a particular shoe style that has worked well in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s knee pain? Please share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.